GUIZERIX: Washington Street Park events show the space’s value

Published 4:00 am Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Over the weekend, Washington Street Park played host to more than 100 vintage motorcycles and even more enthusiasts.

People traveled from across the country to the River City — and spent their dollars at its hotels, museums, small businesses and restaurants — all to attend an event in our downtown park. As the fate of the park remains uncertain, events such as the motorcycle show provide evidence that the green space is still valuable in Downtown Vicksburg.

From an economic standpoint, it makes sense to keep this park space available for events. One of the many advantages of the downtown area is the close proximity to a variety of businesses. Sure, the destination is Washington Street Park, but visitors might choose to stop at Peterson’s for a birthday gift, or Relish for a relaxing dinner.

Preserving green space is vital for more than economic reasons, too. With COVID-19 concerns still looming, Washington Street Park provides a space for locals and travelers alike to picnic, stretch their legs and enjoy the fresh air.

When the park was established in 2019, it was dedicated to Vicksburg’s trailblazers. Its markers bear the names of those who went before us and fought for racial equality, championed the importance of community involvement and broke barriers.

The motorcycle show isn’t the only mass gathering at the park. Washington Street Park is home to the Vicksburg Farmer’s Market. It’s been the backdrop to protests and weddings. It’s provided a beautiful location for prom photos and proposals. While it doesn’t directly generate revenue, the park still holds value, and it does so without alteration or construction.

While the proposed plan to build condominiums on the Washington Street Park site has garnered much public outcry, there’s a simple way to act. The more events are held at the park, the more decision-makers will see its value as a green space.

As temperatures cool and the river breeze nips at our noses, it’s worthwhile to consider holding your next event at Washington Street Park. Whether it’s a craft fair, an art exhibition, a birthday party or a concert, take advantage of what the park has to offer and communicate its value to others through your action.

If Washington Street Park is one day gone, we can remain optimistic that another downtown green space will one day be established to replace it.