VINCENNES, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV)– The north end of the Riverwalk in Vincennes could look very different in the coming months.
Multiple local groups have collaborated on a project that is looking to raise funds for a proposed park in the area that will also serve as a tribute to Native American history and culture.
Will Drews, the President of the Wabash Valley Progressives, said it’s a project they’ve been working on for around 18 months.
“This is such a nice day, and we are the only ones here,” he said Wednesday. “The space right now is not really being utilized as a public space, so we’re hoping when we do the planting and create a more of welcoming, visually-pleasing and hopefully fun area that will draw in people who will just casually visit on a day like today.”
They have been working alongside the Mayor’s Office, as well as several other city departments, throughout the process. Drews said they have also worked with the Miami Nation of Indiana– and he said they have been instrumental in crafting their vision for the park.
“They are concerned about keeping their language alive,” he said. “One of the things we want to incorporate into the park besides the interpretative signs, we want to have other signs that will have English and Miami language translations for certain things.”
Drews said the tribe were the ones who came up with the proposed name– Niikha Park– and that word roughly translates to a friendly greeting in English.
The idea is to completely reimagine the space– including a nature-based play area, several replica structures of what Native American tribes and villages would have along with those signs to help educate and inform visitors more on the impact Native Americans have had around Indiana.
The project is a part of the CreatINg Spaces program through the state’s Housing and Community Development Authority– Drews said they are hoping to raise $35,000 by June 17th, and the state will match that amount if they achieve the goal. Drews said if they reach that amount, the park will have a tentative finishing date in the summer of 2024.
“A big thing that our group really wanted to raise awareness about was that, just to bring some of those topics and make them so they aren’t forgotten,” he said.
The link to find more information on the project– and to donate– can be found here.