HOUSTON - The Emancipation Park has received a brand new makeover.
Crowds gathered as Mayor Sylvester Turner opened the rededication ceremony of the park Saturday at noon. The event was held alongside with an all-day festival from 10 a.m. through 5 p.m.
Bobby Williams said he grew up in Third Ward and has been coming to Emancipation Park since the 1950s.
"In the '50s, this was the only park we had. We couldn’t go to MacGregor Park. This was our park, for blacks only," Williams said.
He can't believe how many improvements have been made at the park with the $33.6 million renovation and said it has given the area a facelift.
"It is nice to see it come back to life," Willims said.
The renovations include a recreational center with a pool, a new playground, an improved ball field and basketball courts.
On Saturday, the city rededicated the park and celebrated with a party.
"The rededication of Emancipation Park is a day for celebration for Third Ward and for all of Houston. The renovation is an example of how public-private partnerships working together can make dramatic differences in a neighborhood park," Turner said. "We would like to extend a special thank you to all of our funding partners. The improvements that we see today at Emancipation Park would not have been possible without their financial support."
Jackie Bostic's great-grandfather was one of the men who founded the park in 1872.
Bostic has played a major role in the redevelopment and knows her family would be proud to see the area today.
"It's a wonderful feeling to know the kids will now have a place to play, swim and do all the things they need to. The people can come and do their exercises and take classes,” she said. “It's going to be wonderful for the area."
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