Improvements at Gov. Joe Kernan Park celebrated

Published: Jul. 21, 2021 at 7:44 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - A ribbon cutting on Wednesday celebrated improvements to Gov. Joe Kernan Park in South Bend.

The park runs along the St. Joseph River Walk, between Howard Park and the Farmer’s Market. “We widened the entire trail, made it ADA accessible, added new lighting, new benches, new trash and recycling cans, new landscaping,” says Aaron Perri, executive director of South Bend Venues Parks & Arts. “We tried to combat the kind of a variability in the river levels there was a large portion of the year where the river walk was under water. So, we actually elevated the river walk.”

In 2017, it was named after the former South Bend mayor and Indiana governor because it’s a place where he enjoyed sculling. “Out of every park and venue in South Bend, this was his most special place,” says Terry Kernan, Joe’s brother. “Long before it became Gov. Joe Kernan Park, you could find him out here any chance he got to be sculling along the water and just enjoying the peace and tranquility that he always received from it.”

One remaining part of the project, the installation of a new public boat launch, will be done later this year.

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