January 23, 2024 - Celebrating a city's 200th anniversary is not an everyday event. Thanks to the community and the Ann Arbor Bicentennial Committee, dozens of fun, unifying and meaningful activities are planned throughout 2024. In addition to celebrations, several projects have been chosen, either by the committee or city, to allow the community to contribute to a piece of Ann Arbor that will transcend 2024 and create a legacy for future Ann Arborites to enjoy.
“Two hundred years ago, Ann Arbor founders' fingerprints began a community that has evolved over time," said Milton Dohoney Jr. “The people who came after the founders applied their fingerprints to continue to shape the city, and now it is time for the 125,000 people who call Ann Arbor home to press their fingertips on their city, and supporting a bicentennial project is a great way to do that."
Bicentennial Park is a 26.5-acre park located at the corner of Ellsworth Road and Platt Road, formerly known as Southeast Area Park. Ann Arbor City Council passed a resolution in May 2023 to designate Southeast Area Park in honor of the 2024 celebration. This recreation area contains two play areas, lighted softball and basketball fields, picnic shelter, drinking fountain, restrooms, picnic tables and grills. There is a paved, multi-use pathway loop around the perimeter of the park, just over a 1/2 mile around, popular for walking. The city has already received a $1 million commitment from the state for the development of a splash pad at the site and is working with Artrain on hosting the fund to support other new amenities at https://artrain.org/a200-bicentennial-park-campaign/.
Kathy Kozachenko made history in Ann Arbor as the first openly gay person elected to political office in the United States. Kozachenko was 21 and a University of Michigan student. To honor Kozachenko's equality achievements, a life-size, full-body replica capturing the era in which she served will be placed in front of Larcom City Hall. The city is partnering with Statues for Equality, which has contributed $70,000 to commission the statue, which will take 12 months to complete. The Jewish Federation is hosting the fund to support this project at https://jewishfederationannarbor.app.neoncrm.com/np/clients/jewishfederationannarbor/donation.jsp?campaign=282&&test=true, The city's fundraising goal is $100,000 to cover all costs associated with the commission and placement of the statue. A ceremony will be held once the statue is completed to honor Kozachenko in person.
The James L. Crawford Elks Lodge, located on Sunset Road in Ann Arbor's Water Hill neighborhood, is part of the national Improved Benevolent Protective Order of Elks of the World, a fraternal organization founded in 1899 by Black men denied entry into existing fraternal groups. The Ann Arbor Lodge chapter was founded in 1922. Funding is needed for vital restoration work to the property, which will enable community members to enjoy this historical property for years to come. The Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation is hosting the fund to support this project at https://aaacf.fcsuite.com/erp/donate/create/fund?funit_id=2188.
You can find additional event and bicentennial information at www.a2bicentennial.org, which will be updated frequently as the community, residents and various organizations find ways to celebrate Ann Arbor's 200th anniversary.
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