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City to Dedicate Merchant Park at Public Event

Seating area at Merchant Park

The public is invited to join community members and local leaders from 10 a.m. until noon, Saturday, Oct. 16, to dedicate Merchant Park (5467 Center Street), the land at the trailhead of the Heritage Rail Trail, near where the original train depot once stood in Old Hilliard. The park is named in honor of the first Black family believed to have settled in the Hilliard area.

The dedication event will include an unveiling, artwork and music by Hilliard City School District (HCSD) students, a new “peace pole” donated by Hilliard Rotary, and refreshments.

“The dedication will serve as a way to publicly honor the Merchant family’s legacy while bringing the community together at one of our parks,” said Deputy Director of Recreation and Parks, Erin Duffee.

Duffee said said updates have been made at the park in preparation for the event.

“As African Americans, our history is lost, unless you seek it out,” said Evonne Merchant Grant, family historian. “It is important for the next generation to know the history of the Merchant Family — the legacy of the Merchant family. Where they came from, where they migrated from, their occupations.”

Grant said the October event is something she and her family are looking forward to.

“It’s a joy that this is happening.” she said.

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