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Emancipation Park Is Revitalized Just In Time For Juneteenth

Juneteenth celebrations took on special meaning in Houston’s Third Ward this year.

Emancipation Park was founded in the 1800’s to commemorate slaves being freed.

Now the space is more reflective of the tremendous history it carries.

Phil Freelon is the architect responsible for the renovation.

He’s not from Houston, but he’s proud to be here as the park reopens.

“Well, it’s always been a time for people to come together and for community pride, and it’s just so nice to see it happening in a bigger way now,” Freelon says.

The nearly 12-acre park has new a processional path, an arch way, and statues honoring the founders.

Emancipation Park has been around for almost 150 years, but Freelon says that made the restoration a little more challenging.

“It’s always a delicate balance between the new and the old, the traditional and then looking forward to the future,” Freelon says.

He redesigned the swimming pool, community center and sporting areas in hopes that it’ll bring people back to the neighborhood.

“We hope that it’ll not only attract new residents, but people will return to Third Ward that used to live here years ago,” Freelon says.

Freelon also helped design the new National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington D.C.

He says no matter the size project, he’s glad he can help restore history in Houston.

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