Armory Park officially opens to residents

Oct. 28—Richmond's Parks and Recreation Department, along with the Board of Commissioners, officially opened Armory Park to the public on Thursday.

The park, which stands on the old grounds of the Richmond National Guard Armory, includes a basketball court, a playground — which is set to be dedicated next spring — and a skate park.

The Armory stood on the 321 N. Second St. site from 1942 until March of last year when it was demolished to make way for the new park. It housed the Richmond Parks and Recreation Department, National Guard and hosted many different functions during its 81 years.

The playground on the site, Joanie's Playground, bears the name of Joan Kleine who passed away in March of this year. Kleine was a teacher with Madison County schools and also was a 4-H leader.

"This is an awesome day for the city of Richmond," Mayor Robert Blythe said.

Mayor Blythe was excited for the opportunities that Armory Park will provide.

"I think this is a quantum leap, not just for this area, but for the city of Richmond as a whole," he said.

City Manager Rob Meinrich echoes Mayor Blythe's sentiments from today's ribbon cutting.

"This is a wonderful addition to our City Park system. Being located in a qualified census tract allowed (the city) to use ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) funds to pay for this project," Meinrich said.

The City Manager also said that the neighborhood surrounding Armory Park was long overdue for this type of quality of life programming.

Parks Board Chair Dr. John McChensey echoed the Mayor's and City Manager's excitement.

"The 2014 and 2020 parks master plans indicated the need for this park," he said.

McChensey mentions that Armory Park is going to be a massive help to the city with the deficit of skate parks that follow national regulations as well as outdoor basketball courts.

Though the weather brought in some occasional rain throughout the ceremony as well as before, it did not dampen anyone's spirits who worked to get the park ready to open.