SIMPLY AMAZING: New park in Marion to honor the legacy of late senator
Almost a year to the day after ground was broken, Amazing Grace Park and the Clementa Pinckney Memorial will soon become a beautiful reality. The City of Marion will host a Grand Opening Community Festival on Saturday, July 31 that will include food trucks, entertainment, face painters, balloon animals, inflatables, arts and crafts, vendors, and more. The festival will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is free and open to the public. The park, located adjacent to the Marion County Museum on Wilcox Ave., will be dedicated to the memory of the late Sen. Clementa Pinckney. Pinckney was one of nine parishioners who were shot and killed while worshipping at Mother Emmanuel Church in Charleston in June of 2015. Pinckney served as senior pastor at the church. The beloved reverend and state senator spent his childhood summers in Marion County and has strong family ties to the area. It is also the site of his final resting place. The park features a lighted fountain with nine waterspouts that serve as a tribute to the Emanuel 9, a name given to the nine people who perished in the Mother Emmanuel Church shooting. There is a plaque on the fountain honoring them. Near the fountain is an artwork entitled “Ascension.” Created by North Carolina artist Jim Weitzel, the work includes five posts, each bearing a large set of angel wings made of copper and painted turquoise. The posts and wings represent the victims’ path to Heaven. The park also has a quarter-mile long walking/jogging trail that is surrounded by flowers and foliage. Situated along the trail area are musical instruments made by the Freenotes Harmonies Park Playcore Co. The instruments include a marimba, a xylophone, sets of tubular bells, and drums. The park is WiFi enabled and has speakers throughout, so music will be streaming throughout the day for an added layer of enjoyment. There is a well-maintained covered seat area perfect for large or small gatherings. A playing area for children ncludes a large clubbing structure shaped like a fox. Created by the Kompan Co., the fox is made of wood that is resistant to rot and will last years to come. New park manager Stephanie Rizzo said it is the first of its kind in the world. She also said additional playground equipment has been ordered and will be installed at a later date. The park is also pet-friendly, with a fenced-in dog area near the children’s playground. The three-acre park was completed at a cost of $3 million. Park partners include Anderson Brothers Bank, AT&T, Blue Cross Blue Shield, the Boeing Company, Charter Communications, Spectrum, Dominion Energy South Carolina, Duke Energy, KOMPAN Inc., Playground Equipment, Marion County Healthcare Foundation, Marion County Transportation Committee, Marlboro Electric Cooperative, Inc., Medical University of South Carolina, NextEra Energy, Pee Dee Electric Cooperative Inc., Santee Electric Cooperative, South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism, Jim Brogdon, and Jerri White. For additional information, visit www.amazinggracepark.org.