$5 million in upgrades planned for Kennedy-King Memorial Site

A  plaza, pavilion and public art are among the improvements coming to the Kennedy-King Memorial Site, city officials announced on Jan. 17 – most appropriately on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

The memorial is located in Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Park in the Kennedy-King neighborhood immediately north of The Old Northside. The memorial honors the historic space where U.S. Sen. Robert F. Kennedy notified a crowd of the assassination of Dr. King.

This popular park also features the Landmark for Peace memorial, Still We Reach exhibit, a playground, outdoor pool and performance shelter.

Using a $5 million city bond, Indy Parks will further what will be celebrated as the Kennedy-King Commemorative Site. It will soon feature additional improvements near 19th Street down the center of the park toward the existing Landmark for Peace Memorial. New amenities will include:

  • Celebration and event plaza.
  • Eternal flame artwork with interpretative panels.
  • New pavilion area along the walkways.
  • Expanded parking.
  • Connection to the new pedestrian pathway (along N. Park Avenue).
  • New walkways and seating areas.

“Indy Parks is dedicated to creating places and experiences that inspire,” said director of Indy Parks Phyllis Boyd. “And as we enhance Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Park we are building upon the park’s legacy and ensuring its future,” she added. “This investment will completely reshape areas of the park and will give neighbors and visitors more space to gather, reflect, and of course play.”

State Rep. Greg Porter, Tracy Ellis-Ward of Pacers Sports and Entertainment, and Whitney Childress of the Friends of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Park provided remarks during the event as well.  

“This site has long served as an inspiration for Indianapolis; with today’s announcement, it will become an even more beautiful and inspiring location,” said Mayor Joe Hogsett. “Fifty-five years ago, Senator Robert Kennedy informed a crowd of Indianapolis residents of Dr. King’s assassination.  What followed was a community effort to maintain peace, restore hope, and importantly, continue Doctor King’s work. Today, we honor that Indianapolis story through investing in a more beautiful and welcoming park.”

The Jan. 16 announcement builds on recent major investments in the parks system. Earlier this month, Mayor Hogsett and Indy Parks joined Lilly Endowment to announce an $80 million investment by the Endowment into 42 individual parks. Mayor Hogsett’s Circle City Forward initiative is funding over $300 million in improvements to parks, public facilities, neighborhood streets and thoroughfares, and trails and greenways. And $16 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding are upgrading playgrounds throughout Indianapolis.

“When you come to this park, you know you are in a beloved, sacred space,” said City-County Councillor Duke Oliver. “The legacies of Dr. King and Sen. Kennedy live on in each of us and live through the work, park programs, and investments going on in this cherished park.”

PHOTO ABOVE: From left, State Rep. Greg Porter, Whitney Childress, Phyllis Boyd, Tracy Ellis-Ward, Councillor Duke Oliver, Mayor Joe Hogsett and Councillor Keith Graves at the Jan. 16 announcement of the pending memorial improvements.