MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - The City of Montgomery held an opening ceremony for its newest downtown park, dedicating it to the life and legacy of civil rights icon Rosa Parks.
City officials unveiled a marker Thursday establishing the Lower Dexter Park that featured a message from Parks. The marker reads, "I would like to be known as a person who is concerned about freedom and equality and justice and prosperity for all people."
City officials say the park is another opportunity for green space among the city's downtown historic buildings, but it has a bigger meaning. The location on which the park sits is the Dexter Avenue entrance of the Montgomery Fair Department store, the building where Parks' worked as a seamstress.
The park features salvaged 1940s glass block and white and blue vitrolite tiles from the original façade of the department store.
The park is nestled between historic buildings like City Drug and the current Prevail Union Montgomery. While the outside has a replica facade of the old department store, the street level remains completely open, connecting to the street for pedestrians.
"Each and every one of you are part of history today, part of the fabric of Montgomery that makes us great, part of the tradition that we have established for our civil rights, but also for going forward for Montgomery as a quality place to live," Montgomery Mayor Strange said.
While city officials talked about the beauty created from the former building and the history of its location, Strange also took the time to give a special warning.
"Not only is this a quiet, and peaceful and serene space for others, we, unfortunately, have already had some people to use this in an inappropriate way," Strange said. "I just want to give a fair warning, while we love skateboarders, and we spent money making a new skateboard park out around Gunter, we will not tolerate skateboarders skating on these facilities, on these benches on these rails. Not only is it unsafe, your defacing and destroying this and we have cameras,"