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Downtown SLC park named after Utah icon to get new amenities

Posted at 3:13 PM, Sep 08, 2023

Mignon Barker Richmond left a shining legacy in Utah. 

She was the first Black woman to graduate college in the state. Mignon launched Utah’s first school lunch program in 1948. She was a community organizer, serving in the NAACP, Women’s legislative council, and Utah Community Service Council.

She was also instrumental in developing anti-poverty legislation in Utah. 

After leaving such lasting mark, Richmond Park in downtown Salt Lake City was named after her in 1986. Now, after over three decades the park is getting some much needed T.L.C.

 “We're involved in this project to help kind of tell the story of this community,” said Robert Burch, executive director of the Sema Haddithi African American Heritage and Culture Foundation. “Actually, Richmond Park is located in a community that used to be predominantly black.

 “And within this area that was known as Center City is the first black church that was built in Utah, the Nettie Gregory Center, which was a community center that Mignon Richmond help build so a lot of black activity when Utah was first founded was in this community.”

Last year, the Salt Lake City Council and voters approved funds for Richmond Park to be revitalized, with construction set to begin in 2025. The fund is part of Salt Lake City’s General Obligation Bond to enhance trails, parks, and other open spaces in Salt Lake City. 

“It's important, just because Salt Lake City is really diverse, has a variety of different stories and perspectives,” said Ronnie Pressetto, Public Lands Planner for Salt Lake City.  

  “So to have that representation in the park is significant,” Pressetto said. “The legacy that she's left. And so it's a nice space, it just needs a little bit of love. And so I'm excited to bring that back and on her on her legacy.”

 According to Pressetto, the city is still developing concept plans for the park. Once they are developed, the City will release concept options for the public to give their input on for the final selection. The completed project will feature new and improved amenities that are prioritized by residents Pressetto notes.

 “It's a a nice space,” Pressetto said. “It just needs a little bit of love. And so I'm excited to bring that back and honor her, honor her legacy.

It all means that a neighborhood once left out of Salt Lake City's progress by official redlining laws will now have a public space worthy of the incredible life and work of a Utah icon.

“So her impact was it was very significant, Burch said. “That's after all why they named this park after her.”