Just north of downtown Indianapolis, centered by East 19th Street and College Avenue, is a community full of residents committed to sharing their desires for peace, love and equity. In the heart of the vibrant Kennedy King neighborhood is Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Park, a beautiful city park with a rich history. The park is home to the spot where, on April 4, 1968, Senator Robert F. Kennedy made a stop along his presidential campaign and delivered the tragic news that Dr. King had been assassinated.
Every April since 1968, community members have gathered at the Landmark for Peace memorial on the park’s grounds to share their memories of the speech and to reflect on the messages Senator Kennedy shared that night. This year, Mayor Joe Hogsett joined the commemoration to announce a new form of support for the park: a $5 million capital campaign.
Over the next few years, the City of Indianapolis, Indy Parks, and the Kennedy King Memorial Initiative (KKMI) hope to raise as much money as possible to support upgrades to the park. To kickstart the campaign, Mayor Hogsett pledged $1 million in infrastructure work, which will focus mostly along the 19th Street corridor and pay for new sidewalks, lighting and pedestrian walkways to foster an even greater connection between the park and the neighborhood.
While the history surrounding Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Park is recognized every April, the space is well-loved by neighbors all year long. Indy Parks has been working to find opportunities to add even more value to the park. In the last few years, we have unveiled enhancements to the park’s playground, dedicated commemorative banners at the Kennedy King Park Center, and opened the KKMI Cultural Visitors Center. Last April, we helped unveil the Still We Reach exhibit inside the center, which details the events surrounding Sen. Kennedy’s speech while highlighting the fight for racial equity in Indianapolis.
We hope that these upcoming enhancements to the park will invite more people to visit and to spend time learning about the history that took place on its grounds in 1968.