Anniston officials on Friday broke ground on a project to enhance Mural Park thanks to a $10,000 grant.
Mural Park rests on the corner of Glen Addie Avenue and West 15th Street. Officials call the park the gateway to Anniston’s West 15th Street historic district. The area was the social and commercial district for African Americans in Anniston during segregation, and a mural at the park symbolizes that “city within a city.”
Anniston Mayor Jack Draper said Mural Park is an important place, one where visitors can recognize a “those who sought and still seek to right the wrongs” of racism. It’s also a place where visitors can reflect on the positive change made in the city.
“That is my hope and prayer for today: for us to keep coming back” to this park, Draper said.
The grant will pay for seating, lighting, landscaping, picnic tables, and chess and checkers boards at the park. The grant money has already paid for a gazebo at the park.
The grant comes from the Open Spaces Sacred Places program of the Community Foundation of Northeast Alabama.
Open Spaces Sacred Places honors Susie Parker Stringfellow, an Anniston philanthropist whose will in 1920 bequeathed her estate to the city, which turned it into Stringfellow Memorial Hospital, now part of RMC. According to the foundation’s website, the Open Spaces sites are “intended for the encouragement of community well-being, and resilience of mind/body/spirit of both individuals and communities.”
Mural Park sits next to the Dr. David Satcher Wellness Park and to what city leaders hope will be an extension of the Chief Ladiga Trail into downtown Anniston.
“All of this is just coming together so beautifully,” said Pete Conroy, a member of Freedom Riders Park Committee, which helped draft Mural Park’s application for the grant.
Anniston City Councilman David Reddick also spoke at the groundbreaking. He said the mural at the park represents the best of Anniston.
“I want people to come here and see what Anniston has to offer,” he said.