Long-awaited Unity Park opens


Jacob Ennis

Students and staff gather for a photograph at the grand opening of the Unity Park just off the bike trail by the tennis courts.

Corey Little, Staff Writer

A 10-year-long goal to create a park at Madison College honoring all nations and people was achieved this summer. The college’s Unity Park was officially opened on June 14 during a ceremony featuring many of the people who helped make it a reality.

The project was a collaborative effort that included the Volunteer Center, the Student Activities Board, Madison College students and the surrounding community.

Construction of the Unity Park began the spring of 2013 and became a perceptual piece, which is located off the bike path across from the main Truax building.

Bob Corbett, a faculty member in the Architectural Technology Program, developed the park’s design. The center piece is a 4-foot globe that serves as replica of the world. Once inside the park’s paved areas, visitors will realize that all of continents are surrounding you as if you are inside of the world. Beyond the centerpiece sculpture, a variety of native Wisconsin plants landscape the area.

At the grand opening of the Unity Park, there were a number of speakers who expressed their gratitude for the opening of the park expressing that is was a safe space for everyone that would bring the diverse group of individuals in our community together.

The people who spoke at the ceremony were Corey Little, then Executive Director of the college’s Volunteer Center; Jo Oyama-Mille, a representative on the College District Board; Kris Howard from the Carpenter-Ridgeway Neighborhood; and Alison Ahlgrim, Assistant Director of the East Madison Community Center. The ceremony was closed with a few words from student body president-elect Colin Bowden.

The concept for the park, which was previously named “Peace Park,” was first suggested after Sept. 11, 2001, as a sign of respect and unity to all nations and people. Due to funding and space uncertainties the project was put on hold.
With the creation of the College’s master facilities plan, the peace park was reenergized. Corbett proposed the design and $62,700 was approved by the Student Activities Board on Nov. 19, 2010. During the spring of 2013, the Volunteer Center picked the project back up and along with the SAB, renamed the park Unity Park.