'You had to have a little vision': Bicentennial Park transforms old Angler's Club property

News-DemocratMay 1, 2013 

— The city's new Bicentennial Park off 17th Street officially opened after a ribbon cutting Wednesday morning.

The city has transformed the nearly 40 acres into a park equipped with an Art on the Square sculpture, gazebo, plaza, trails and a playground that complies with Americans with Disabilities Act standards.

"This park is in the process of totally developing before our eyes," Mayor Mark Eckert said of the former Angler's Club property.

He thanked all those who worked to develop the park and get it ready for the city's 200th anniversary in 2014.

Eckert also recognized the Kimball family trust for its $400,000 gift to the city to develop Kimball Plaza. A plaque honors Dorothy May Kimball and Edgar Rollins Kimball, who donated the money to enhance the city.

The park was not in good shape just a few years ago, Eckert said.

"You had to have a little vision."

At the event Eckert also announced the appointments of some new department officials:

* Debbie Belleville is now the director of the city's Parks and Recreation Department. She formerly was the manager of operations for the department.

* Jim Schneider is now the city's director of human resources, training and community development. Before, he served as both the director of parks and recreation and the director of human resources, training and development.

* And, Jason Poole is now the assistant director of parks and recreation.

Contact reporter Jacqueline Lee at jlee@bnd.com or 239-2655. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/BNDBelleville.

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