Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Rotary Pocket Park to Be Completed This Summer

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Rotary Pocket Park to Be Completed This Summer

Article excerpt

Grant Glenn, president-elect of the Downtown Topeka Rotary club, says the new Rotary pocket park in the 400 block of S. Kansas Ave. is expected to be completed by July.

The "Topeka's Intersection of Freedom" pocket park, which will commemorate the city's civil rights history and the 100th anniversary of Rotary in Topeka, will be on a strip of land about 25 feet wide between Constitution Hall, 429 S. Kansas Ave., and the commercial properties to its south.

Glenn said the park also is across the street from the U.S. Post Office/old federal building, where the Brown v. Board of Education case was argued in the courtroom before it evolved into the 1954 U.S. Supreme Court decision that ended segregation in public schools.

Glenn, an attorney with Woner, Glenn, Reeder and Girard, recently provided updates on the pocket park project.

How did the idea for the pocket park project come about?

Downtown Topeka Rotary club members toured the old federal courtroom chambers in the U.S. Post Office a couple of years ago, and a historian with the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site spoke to them about the site's significance in the nation's civil rights history, Glenn said.

They realized the site also was across the street from Constitution Hall, where delegates assembled in October 1855 to establish a free-state government and draft a constitution outlawing slavery in Kansas.

"This was in 2013, and we were celebrating 100 years of Rotary in Topeka in 2014," he said, explaining how the Downtown Topeka Rotary club was the first Rotary organization in Topeka and subsequent clubs "have their roots with them."

After some discussion, Glenn said, the Downtown Topeka Rotary club decided to spearhead an effort to create a pocket park on greenspace south of Constitution Hall that would be a combined commemoration of the Rotary anniversary and the city's role in the fight for equality. …

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