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Former Mayor Brown donates Market Street lot for downtown park

  • Former Clinton Mayor Cathy Brown stands in front of the Market Street lot she recently bought and donated to the city to create a “pocket park,” which will include a gazebo and live Christmas tree. It will be named Maude W. Brown Park in memory of Brown’s mother. - G. Chambers Williams III

  • MAUDE W. BROWN - G. Chambers Williams III

There’s a new gazebo and even another live Christmas tree coming to downtown Clinton in a new city park being built where the taxicab stand used to be on Market Street.

To be called the Maude W. Brown City Park, it will be on a piece of property donated to the city last November by former Mayor Cathy Brown, who stipulated that it can only be used as a park.

The lot has about 35 feet of road frontage on Market Street.

Other stipulations require that the city erect a gazebo on the land, along with a Christmas tree and a walkway made either of brick or concrete stamped to look like brick, Cathy Brown said Monday.

“I bought the property from the heirs of Rachel Southerland on Oct. 28, and I promised I would turn it into a park,” said Brown, who served three terms as Clinton’s mayor in the mid- to late-1980s.

“I didn’t want to restrict it too much, because I wanted it to be city property for use by the people,” she said. “But I thought it was important to name it for my mom. She loved the gazebo across the street in the Hoskins-Lane Park, which has now been moved down to the fairgrounds park area.

“I’m also grateful to the Hoskins and Lane families that let the property across the street be used as a park for years.”

Clinton city workers will build the new park and its structures, said City Manager Roger Houck. That will include a new gazebo, rather than bringing the old one that was across the street.

“That one was too big for this property, so we will build one that’s a bit smaller,” he said. “We will have benches in the gazebo and out in the rest of the park, as well.”

Work began last week, and Houck said the goal is to have the Maude W. Brown Park ready to open by April 1.

“We have some downtown events planned for the spring, and would like to have the park open for them,” he said.

Among the work to be done will be removal of the gravel base of the parcel, which has been used as a parking lot most of the time since the taxi stand was shut down, Houck said. The gravel will be replaced with topsoil, and sod will be planted to create a green space.

“We do thank our former mayor for donating the property,” the city manager said. “We appreciated her wanting to donate the land for a little pocket park. It’s always nice to have green spaces in the town to be utilized for the public.”

The new park will also have the historic Pearl City Market sign that used to be posted across the street in the Hoskins-Lane Park, Houck said.

Those two families had allowed the city to use that land, next door to Hoskins in the Flat, as a city park since 1976, until they reclaimed it for their own use about a year-and-a-half ago, Houck said.

The gazebo that was on that property most likely will be moved to the new 17-acre dog park the city is building on part of the former Carden Farm property in South Clinton, he said.

“We started work on it last fall, and probably will finish it up this summer,” he said of the dog park.

Clinton will pay for the gazebo and other elements of the new Maude W. Brown Park, which will cost about $10,000 to $12,000, Houck said.

The city’s Beautification Committee also is considering having a mural painted on the side of the building facing the west side of the park – the former site of Joe’s Barber Shop. The current owner of that building, Scott Fiscus, said he has offered to let the city use the building’s exterior for the mural.

Fiscus is readying the building to use for his business. He is “ocularist,” who specializes in designing and making prosthetic eyes for people who have lost their eyes to injury or disease. He also makes other facial prosthetics, including ears and noses, he said.