Monument to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Savannah is delayed by the pandemic

MLK Park Open at Savannah's Plant Riverside

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - The plan for Savannah’s only monument of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. has been in the works for two and a half years and the wait to see it will take a little longer.

Richard Kessler, the man behind Savannah’s new Plant Riverside development says the new monument to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is nearly ready, but deserves a grand unveiling.

“We would have done it earlier but this COVID-19 has obviously delayed things and we didn’t want people to have to travel to come here for this special occasion until this COVID-19 is over,” Kessler said.

The new MLK park is already open but Kessler envisions the spot at the end of Martin Luther King Boulevard as a destination for years to come.

“Over the years there will be thousands of people who will come and go and enjoy entertainment here in Martin Luther King park,” Kessler said.

The base of the monument is already in place and includes engravings on all four sides. One features a biography of Dr. King, another features excerpts from his Emancipation Day Address given at Savannah Municipal Auditorium in 1961. Portions of his famous “I Have A Dream” speech and other quotes from writings and speeches fill the rest of the monument.

“We brought in someone from Washington, D.C. actually to do all the special engraving that’s been done and the bust has already been complete,” Kessler said. “The bronze bust is a two-time life sized bust of Dr. King. The King family looked at it, liked it. and signed off on it. We’re very pleased with it and I think the community will be very happy on the day we are able to unveil it and have a big affair here for that.”

Kessler says Plant Riverside is tentatively planning for a three or four day grand opening celebration in late summer once it’s next phase in complete and says that will include a special ceremony to unveil the monument to the public.

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