Civic Park launches centennial celebration

FLINT, Michigan — Civic Park will celebrate its centennial with a series of events throughout the year including dedication of a new historic marker, parade, community cleanup and neighborhood picnic.
 
Organizers unveiled the theme and logo for the centennial at its official launch celebration at Joy Tabernacle Church on Saturday, March 9, 2019. The purple, blue and orange logo features classic Civic Park neighborhood housing designs and the theme “Heritage, Healing and Hope.” It was created by design studio students at the University of Michigan-Flint under the guide of associate professor Ben Gaydos.
 
Civic Park is traditionally considered the neighborhood north of Welch Boulevard between Dupont Street and Brownell Boulevard. The neighborhood was built by General Motors and completed in 1919 to house the massive influx of workers drawn here by automotive and industrial jobs. 
 
“Civic Park has been a beacon of light in my life,” said Aaron Dunigan, who rebuilt his life with help from a community project at Joy Tabernacle and now is investing in the neighborhood. “There is so much richness in this community, so much hope, so much love, so much joy. … Civic Park is on the uprise. It’s coming back.”
 
Hosted and emceed by Joy Tabernacle’s Pastor Robert McCathern, the official launch of the centennial included words from more than a dozen community residents and supporters.
 
They also announced a website, CivicParkCentennial.com, where people can find out more about all the events being planned around the 100-year celebration — including a garden planting party in the spring, a popup museum in the summer, trunk or treat in the fall, and a neighborhood Christmas walk in the winter.
 
At one time, Civic Park included more than 1,000 homes, but the neighborhood also has suffered over the years. Much of its historic district status was removed after officials determined many buildings lacked historic integrity.
 
In recent years, the area has gained renewed prominence with the formation of new neighborhood groups, establishment of the Urban Renaissance Center, and new investments from the Ruth Mott Foundation, Community Foundation of Greater Flint, and the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation.
 
The neighborhood is home to its own Christmas tree lighting ceremony, a music festival, and several high-profile community organizations including Joy Tabernacle, St. Luke’s NEW Life Center, and Haskell Community Center.
 
“I’ve seen it beautiful. I’ve now seen it a little bit ugly. But I know that everything will come back if we all work together,” said Inez Taylor, a resident of Civic Park for more than 30 years.

Read more articles by Marjory Raymer.

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