On a beautiful, sunny day in October, Lincoln Park reopened to the public. The community gathered to celebrate with music, speeches, and fun activities for all ages. After months of construction, it was wonderful to see kids running around and hear lively conversations at this beloved space.
Ecolibrium3 was honored to be present at the reopening event. The construction took about six months, but the project has been in the works for years. The first investment into the park redesign was a $50,000 grant that Ecolibrium3 secured from the US Bank Foundation as part of their Places to Play grant program. Ecolibrium3 seeks to support projects that benefit the entire community, and the Lincoln Park remodel is a perfect example. The upgrades to the park will be felt by many people for years to come.
Accessibility has been a guiding principle of the park redesign. Previously, many aspects of the park couldn’t be safely enjoyed by people with disabilities, older adults, or children. During the redesign process, community members and partners made sure that the new park would work for everyone. The new playground is fully accessible. The rubber flooring, multi-height structures, and musical installations provide more opportunities for safe, creative play. The streets and parking areas were updated too. Instead of parking on the street and then crossing through traffic, visitors park in the new lot and have a designated crosswalk to the park. There are new accessible paths along the sides of the creek, and wayfinding signs to make it easier to explore. The fully accessible restrooms are another important update. The park has not had working restrooms since 2014, which made visiting the park more difficult for people with disabilities, young children, and older adults. With all these updates, the park is now a great place to have large gatherings, which hasn’t been possible for many years. This is an example of how age-friendly and accessible design is good for everyone.
The new Lincoln Park is an example of Ecolibrium3’s mission at work. Age-friendly design, community infrastructure, and green spaces are all important parts of a sustainable, equitable future. It is also a special honor to have a monument to the late City Councilor Renee Van Nett in our neighborhood; the iconic pavilion now bears her name. Councilor Van Nett was dedicated to equality and justice in her personal and professional life. Throughout her career of public service, she worked to make Duluth better for all. As the first Indigenous person elected to City Council, she promoted engagement and representation in local politics. She saw serving her community as an obligation and a privilege, and she encouraged everyone to get involved in making the world a better place. The Renee Van Nett Pavilion will serve as a reminder of what is possible, and of our responsibility to our community. We encourage everyone to stop by, enjoy the space, and take a quiet moment to dream about the future.