Story by Alicia Steele, Staff writer
After two tragedies struck downtown Murray last year members of the community began questioning what the city was going to do to “get downtown Murray going again” said City Councilman Dan Miller.
In February 2014, a building collapsed at the corner of 4th and Main, directly followed by a building fire at Wilson’s Florist on 5th and Maple in July.
Renaissance Park is the answer to the community’s question.
Renaissance means rebirth. The city is working with the Rotary and Lions clubs to make this happen.
“Downtown still remains what I think is the heart and soul of Murray,” Miller said.
The park will be built on the corner of 5th and Poplar, across from old city hall, where the Murray Municipal Utilities building was located before it fell into disrepair.
Miller said the city decided to hold onto this property and turn it into green space, which was identified as a need in Murray’s long-range plan, according to an informational brochure provided by Miller.
“We’re sort of limited in what we can do, but we own this piece of property so we can contribute to the green space and make this a place where people would want to come down and then see if other businesses will follow,” Miller said.
The new park will rely completely on donors. The city began looking for 12-15 individuals willing to donate $5,000 each, and is still looking for 3-4 more donors.
Each donor will be recognized in a standing bronze plaque on the park site, according to a brochure about the park provided by Miller.
“This park and the names of the donors will stand for decades as a reminder to those that come after us that Murray is a special community and it is home to special folks who love it and are willing to invest in its future,” is also included in the brochure.
“The good people of Murray have donated to establish the park,” Miller said. “And there may even be some money left over for the future mainte nance of the park.”
Miller said the upkeep of the park will be as simple as mowing your lawn at home, and the city will maintain the park instead of the parks department.
This also means that the new park will not be at the cost of taxpayers.
Renaissance Park will include:
- a mulch bed
- street lamps
- a trench edge
- white rail fence sections
- a fountain
- a pergola
A pergola includes a bench with a wooden overhead structure.
The city plans to begin work on the park in October, and hopes to have it finished by the Christmas parade in early December.
The parade will end at the park, where they will light up a large tree as the city’s Christmas tree.
The fountain in the park may have to wait until spring.
“The city will do the best we can,” Miller said. “But I’m not going to force it.”