Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Honor Lincoln Park when the Extended Central Avenue is Built

Lincoln Park. From about 1918 to about the 60s, this park was the only recreational facility for African Americans in Chattanooga. Warner Park was a white-only park.

Lincoln Park had the distinction of being the first African American park in the South with lighted softball fields. African Americans from all over the South came to the fields at Lincoln Park to be able to play softball at night.

The park grew in popularity in the late 1930s with a new swimming pool: a pool so large that it was described in the media of the time as the finest pool for Negroes anywhere in the South.
This 10-acre park also had basketball courts, playground, and a zoo.

Now sadly looking around, dilapidation rules the day in former Lincoln Park. After desegregation, the city of Chattanooga couldn't afford keeping two large parks running. The pool closed in the 60s and in 1979 the land was given to Erlanger in exchange for land in Glenwood. In 1996, a plaque was made to honor the park and a stone archway was dedicated to honor those who used the park.

Fast forward to June 2012.  The City Council approved extending Central Avenue north to Riverside Drive.  The amount of time saved for ambulances definitely justifies the extension.
But there is a lot of planning to do. I noticed that the intersection of Blackford and Central was quite busy. I think the traffic pattern will require a traffic light at that intersection.  The Blackford/Central intersection is also a strange 5-way intersection. I think one of the smaller streets will need to be closed to access Central to make it a regular 4-way intersection.
The extended Central Avenue will cross railroad property and Citico Creek.

Wouldn't it be appropriate if the City Council would honor the existence of Lincoln Park by adding signage when the new part of Central Avenue is built as the Lincoln Park Parkway?