Winter Park leaders gathered on the morning of Jan. 15 to break ground on a community space that was inspired by the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Located by the intersection of Denning Drive and Morse Boulevard, Unity Corner was made possible through the cooperation of City Hall and the residents of Hannibal Square.
“It started with advocacy by citizens, action by commissioners, and acknowledgement of this space,” said MLK Naming Task Force Chair Carolyn Fennell. She also noted the inspiration for the Dr. King memorial, titled Ripple, that will be at the center of Unity Corner. “This will be a reflection that, just as a single drop of water creates a ripple, so too does Dr. King’s influence.”
The road to Unity Corner began with a 2012 naming task force, formed by the city to identify opportunities to honor the memory of Dr. King. The former Lake Island Park was renamed for the civil rights leader and will now house the community space at its northeast corner.
Fennell, who is also the former vice president of community relations for the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority, was among the community leaders to speak before the ceremonial dirt toss. The city expects the space to be completed by the end of the year.
Unity Corner was designed by landscape architecture firm Dix.Hite + Partners, Inc. and artist Andrew Luy. The memorial will consist of a 9-foot bronze statue of Dr. King that will be set inside a concentric pattern of stone benches. A surrounding memory wall will display quotes from Dr. King, and the names of the Black families who originally resided on the property before being displaced in the 1950’s through eminent domain.
“The design of the memorial was truly a collaborative process,” said Luy. “A testament to teamwork, inclusion, and that every voice counts.”