Park groundbreaking- From left: Park fund-raising chair Spencer Howington (blue cap), County Commissioner Noah Woods, Town Councilman Greg Cummings, Chamber volunteer Larry Brooks, Town Manager McDuffie Cummings, Chancellor Allen C. Meadors, Mayor Milton Hunt, Dr. Diane Jones, vice chancellor for Student Affairs, Miss UNCP Jessica Ortiz-Carrero, Chamber Board of Directors Chair Robert Canida and Chamber President R.D. Locklear.
Ground was broken July 3 for the new Pembroke Town Park during the 36th annual Lumbee Homecoming.
Hundreds of people looked on from the open-air marketplace that the park becomes during Lumbee Homecoming. Volunteers raised more than $75,000 of the $125,000 needed to transform the park, located at the entrance of UNC Pembroke.
"I'd like to thank the Pembroke Area Chamber of Commerce and UNCP for their fund-raising work on this project," said Pembroke Mayor Milton Hunt. "The town looks forward to the completion of this project."
Fund raising is ahead of schedule and should be complete by Thanksgiving, said fund-raising coordinator Spencer Howington.
"Everyone can own a piece of the park," Howington said.
Brick "pavers" to memorialize loved ones at the new Pembroke Park are on sale for $125 each, and the personalized bricks will pave a walkway at a veteran's memorial. UNCP Chancellor Allen C. Meadors encouraged the purchase of bricks.
"This park symbolizes the connection between the town, community and the University," Chancellor Meadors said. "I already own a substantial piece of the walkway, and I encourage you to do the same."
The largest gifts of $15,000 each came from the Town of Pembroke and Lumbee Guarantee Bank.
Recent major contributions came from businesses and individuals: Sheff's Seafood Restaurant, Charles Alton Maynor, Mary Doris Dial and Pembroke Hardware, County Commissioner Noah Woods, Oxendine Tire, Dial Insurance, Ransom Insurance, Professional Providers, First Bank and Adrene Locklear.
"This project is a great source of pride for the town, the community and the University," said Dr. Diane Jones, UNCP's vice chancellor for Student Affairs and Town Park project coordinator. "This is one of the most exiting projects I have worked with between the town and the University."
The ambitious park design includes a veteran's memorial walkway, a history exhibit, playground equipment, wrought iron fencing, landscaping, a water feature and bathrooms. A model of the planned park is on display during business hours at the new Pembroke Municipal Building.
"The vision we have for this park is to make it a landmark for this community," said Pembroke Chamber President R.D. Locklear. "In years to come, we want people to say, 'If you go to Pembroke, you've got to see the park.'"
Healthkeeperz and Shaw Office Supplies of Lumberton also contributed to the pacesetter phase of the campaign, Locklear said.
Architect Mike Clark of Native American Design Services of Pembroke is providing design services without charge, Locklear said. Katrina Locklear of Locklear and Son Funeral Home is leading the design committee, and Howington of Shaw Office Supplies is leading the fundraising committee.
For information about the park, please call the Town of Pembroke at 910.521.0647.