This is the fourth in a series featuring one of the city of Fenton’s nine parks, providing information on each and highlighting the amenities available to the public.
Freedom Park is .35 acres small, but it is rich in history. It is Fenton’s first park and it is the place where during the Civil War, Col. William Matthew Fenton had the soldiers practice their drills.
It also was the town square when Fenton was founded in 1834 and used to have a wooden bandstand where the Fenton City Band would perform.
The park is bordered by West Shiawassee Avenue, West Elizabeth Street and Park Street. The park is always open and has no entrance fees. There are several benches to relax on, a picnic area, a war memorial and a gazebo, which was donated by Dennis and Gail Schaefer in memory of their fathers.
Dennis Schaefer died July 7, 2017 at the age of 56. He was the founder and owner of Creative Wood Products, one of the area’s big success stories. He was a well-known community activist, having been involved with various area civic groups. He also was a long-time member of the Fenton Regional Chamber of Commerce and until the time of his death was on the Board of Directors.
A memorial at Freedom Park to honor veterans has been in the planning stages for a couple of years. It will be known as the Veterans Memorial at Freedom Park. During the Fenton City Council’s Feb. 4 work session, officials heard a presentation on the possibility of creating the veterans memorial park in Freedom Park.
The actual memorial space will be an area of reverence, where everyone can take time to pause and reflect on service members and what they have sacrificed for the country. The surrounding plaza and walkways will be established for community members to recognize service members.
Officials gave their approval to establish a steering committee to move forward. The membership includes Pat Lockwood, Jennifer Wenzel, Scott Grossmeyer, Daniel Brisson (DPW), Tracy Bottecelli, Ken Rodenbo, John Scott, Ed Koledo, Robert Carnes, Doug Tebo, Shelly Day and Dawn Overmyer.
This committee has been charged with taking the conceptual plan and bringing it to fruition with an actual design, the construction of the work, and funding necessary to build the project. They will look at all aspects of the project including what the actual memorial will involve, details about the bricks, including size, color, layout, costs, vendor and what can be printed on them. They also will look into funding and fundraisers as well as the utilization of volunteers and donated products and services, finalizing the design of the layout, and operations and maintenance of the park and memorial into the future.
The steering committee will work with the City Council and keep them informed of the activities as the project moves forward. During its Monday, Aug. 5 work session, the committee obtained approval to seek $5,000 in grant monies from the Community Foundation of Greater Flint, Fenton Fund for marketing. They would like flyers, ads and a video to raise awareness.
The gazebo can be rented at the city offices. For more information, call (810) 629-2261.