• 73°

Work crew makes first inroads into future site of MLK Dream Park

By Mark Wineka


SALISBURY — One day, this 7 acres at 910 S. Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. might hold a garden, trails, athletic field and events center, but right now vegetation rules.

A clean-up crew descended on the future Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Dream Park Saturday and began the early work of trying to get the land ready for development.

The Rev. Julius Koonce, pastor of Christ Transformation Center, said Saturday’s work was like a relaunch of the project in hopes of generating community and city involvement down the road.

Koonce wanted people driving by to see that work has started on the park. As its identity becomes more established, the pastor said, larger donations for the project should follow.

“Some, I’m pretty sure, are waiting to see more progress,” Koonce said. “… I think it’s going to be a great park.”

Since a groundbreaking last February, Koonce said organizers have used the year since to establish a non-profit status for the park and separated it from his ministry.

“The whole nine yards,” Koonce said of having successfully completed that task. “We took the time to make sure that it was done right.”

Koonce was loading his Ford Ranger truck with debris and going after undergrowth and small trees with a chainsaw Saturday. His wife, Tammy, and other workers such as Julia Rustin, Renetta Roberts, Ephraim Koonce, Greg Tinsley, Tony Gillespie, Ruth Booker and Eleanor Qadirah were pitching in and were among the first arrivals for the work day.

“It’s a good workout,” Tammy Koonce said. “I don’t have to go to the gym today.”

Besides attacking the vegetation, the work crew also was picking up litter on the site. They set up a table along Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue that held cases of water to keep themselves hydrated on the warm winter day.

“We wanted to just clear it out, so people can see something going on,” Julius Koonce said. “If the community doesn’t appreciate what’s here, it will go down. I refuse to let that happen.”

Christ Transformation Church meets at Hood Seminary.

A large sign along Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue marks the land where the future park is proposed. It lies on the opposite side of the road, not far from the end of Crawford Street.

Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263.



One charged, another hospitalized in fight between cousins


Bell Tower Green renamed to honor Stanbacks; Nancy Stanback receives key to city


Commissioners green light additional houses at Cherry Treesort in China Grove


A.L. Brown will hold in-person, outdoor graduation


Granite Quarry awards FEMA contract for Granite Lake Park


City to vote on apartment developments, final phases of Grants Creek Greenway project

High School

High school football: North receiver McArthur a rising star


Carl Blankenship: Pollen and prejudice make their return


Harris pitches $2.3T spending plan on trip to North Carolina


Murder case against ex-cop in Floyd’s death goes to the jury


Sheriff’s office: Man takes deputies on chase with stolen moped


Afternoon, evening COVID-19 vaccination clinic planned Thursday


Concord man charged with woman’s murder in drive-by shooting

Ask Us

Ask Us: Have city, county elected officials received COVID-19 vaccine?


City gives away nearly 100 trees during ‘We Dig Salisbury’ event


Political Notebook: Bitzer expects most ‘Trump-like’ candidate to be favorite in state’s Senate race


Blotter: Concord man arrested in Rowan for indecent liberties with children


Half of US adults have received at least one COVID-19 shot


Police: FedEx shooter legally bought guns used in shooting


Hester Ford, oldest living American, dies at 115 … or 116?


Size of pipeline spill again underestimated in North Carolina


Kannapolis Police searching for suspect who fled scene of homicide


RSS superintendent talks district’s future, strategic plan survey


Complaints and fines pile up against unpermitted landfill in southwest Rowan County