Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

February 22, 2014

Fundraising underway for MLK memorial

Group hopes to raise $150,000 to build new monument.

By Martin Slagter Kokomo Tribune
Kokomo Tribune

---- — A “Dream Team” has been assembled and fundraising is underway for the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial that will serve as a symbol of human and civil rights history in Kokomo for generations.

To make the dream a reality, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Commission must raise $150,000. That will be done by soliciting donations and hosting a memorial gala, which will take place at 6 p.m. April 24 at the Ivy Tech Kokomo Event & Conference Center.

To date, the commission has raised approximately $18,000. The commission hopes to have its fundraising completed by the time of the gala.

Commission Chair Nanette Bowling said the memorial will honor Dr. King’s legacy while providing a point of pride for the city of Kokomo.

“It’s historical. This would be the first monument dedicated to an African-American in Kokomo,” she said. “This is something people will want to come and see.”

The memorial will include a granite wall as a backdrop to a statue of Dr. King made from Indiana limestone. Along the backdrop wall, eight black granite plaques will contain educational milestones from King’s life.

Granite benches, entrance planters and a brick walkway will accentuate other artwork on display at the monument site at the corner of Lafountain Street and Apperson Way. Land for the memorial was donated by the city.

After hosting a meeting for volunteer fundraisers in the business community on Thursday, commission fundraising chair Shannon Rivers hopes the collaborative effort will result in an iconic monument that residents can be proud of.

“For me to be able to do this, growing up living here and raising my kids here, is great,” she said. “To be able to do this for someone who already has a legacy is very honorable for me.”

City Controller Milton Beach, who is involved in the fundraising effort, said the monument has the potential to help Kokomo stand out in its mission to bring in more residents.

“One of the city’s goals is to get more people to come and live in Kokomo,” he said. “We know that people want to live in places that are attractive and offer the quality of life amenities. The MLK Jr. Memorial project fits neatly into that goal.”

To make a donation to the memorial, you may make checks payable to the Community Foundation of Howard County, Inc., 215 W. Sycamore St., Kokomo, IN, 46901 or by donating online at www.cfhoward.org.

Martin Slagter can be reached at 765-454-8570, at martin.slagter@kokomotribune.com or on Twitter @slagterm.