NEWBERRY — Now that the restorations to Vincent Street Park are complete, a project city council member Thomas Louis Boyd had only dreamed about is now a reality.
Boyd was a key figure and one of the pioneers in the restoration process. Living close to the park, he and his wife thought that it would be a good idea for the city to bring the park up to date.
The park’s ribbon cutting ceremony was held Tuesday afternoon, with many community members present, along with over 100 students from Newberry Elementary School who walked from school to the location with teachers and faculty members.
Parks, Recreation and Tourism Director Scott Sawyer said four basketball courts were built, their surfaces painted, along with a shelter and playground equipment constructed in the park. The equipment previously in the park was outdated, and two basketball courts were where four now stand.
Before the location at 1747 Vincent St. was a park, Boyd said it was an African American Hospital, known to the community as “The Center,” ran by doctors Grant and Abrams. Following the hospital, Boyd said the location became a daycare and nursery, before it was known as Vincent Street Park.
“This is an important and historic location,” said Mayor Foster Senn. “We’re glad to see it rejuvenated, revitalized, and added to.”
Sawyer said the ribbon cutting was a first for an essentially new park in nearly 40 years. His hope is that they can now hold three-on-three basketball tournaments in the park.
“Without our city’s staff, this couldn’t have been possible,” City Manager Al Harvey said.
Boyd said he wanted people to know that Newberry is not only a place to live and work, but a place to play as well.
“This location has been known as ‘The Center,’ then Vincent Street Park, but now we can call it the proving grounds,” he said pointing at the basketball court.
Following the ceremony, Boyd was given a chance to prove his skills on the basketball court by taking free-throw shots.
Jackie Holmes with Newberry Elementary School said she was proud for the children from the school to experience the ceremony.
“Being a part of this was a joy,” she said. “Being a part of this community is just a joy.”
Elyssa Parnell can be reached at 803-276-0625, ext. 108 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.