The History of the Paramount Peace Park
When Tommy Reddicks (current Executive Director of Paramount School of Excellence) began clearing invasive overgrowth at Paramount School of Excellence along Brookside Parkway South Drive in the summer of 2011, he could see a park amidst the Japanese Honeysuckle, Wild Grape, Poison Ivy, and infected Ash Trees.
"At times, I would literally jump into the thickets of invasives with the chainsaw running, and cut my way out.
It was so thick, you couldn't see one foot into it!" - Tommy Reddicks
And, after six years of personal sweat equity, three chainsaws, one brush cutter, three wood chippers, 100 cubic yards of mulch, neighborhood volunteers, service/volunteer work days, and help from STEAM students, the park reached completion.
"I remember once, when working on the park with Renee Lynch from the Brookside Neighborhood
Association, she said, 'Hey Tommy, your whole face is in poison ivy right now.' Luckily I'm not horribly reactive if I wash off when I'm done." - Tommy Reddicks
The elevated platforms, ground cover plantings, picnic tables, trash bins, and mulch for the Paramount Peace Park were made possible via private donors, KIB Kids Club funding, and an IPL Project Green Space Grant. While it's impossible to thank all of the volunteers and organizations for their help with this project, a very special portion of the work (hill conditioning, platform and bench installation) was provided through a gift from the Family & Friends of Chris Franson. This support, and the ongoing attention of KIB has enabled the park to reach completion.
While contemplation, serenity, and walkability are key components for the Peace Park, ongoing art installations will provide a unique attraction. One of the more exciting features of the park is the set of very large suspended chimes. Averaging 13' in length, the wind chimes hang from two of the tallest trees in the park, adding an ethereal soundscape for visitors. The park also features 12 hanging installations on each viewing deck support post, two additional installations hung on recycled telephone poles anchored into the hill, 10 hidden tree faces, five kinetic wind chimes, and 20 secretly suspended crystals.
Following an extensive period of engineering, an accessible path has been designed for the Peace Park. This path emerges from the Eastern sidewalk near the alley, moving between the History & Preservation sculptures. From there it slowly makes its way along the hillside and into the tree line (heading West). Once in the trees, the pathway meets the Eastern-most viewing deck (see the map below in the photo gallery). From there, it reaches out over the picnic space and connects to the 2nd viewing deck. This vast elevated trail is very fun, offering fascinating views from up in the tree canopy.
While the park is currently open to the public, additional art installations are always underway. And, with annual attrition from weather and wind, there will be a regular rotation of art for viewers to enjoy. This will keep the space in a constant state of dynamic change, offering an ongoing artistic evolution.