The Grand Opening of Lower Dexter Park was held June 21st, 2018. Mayor Todd Strange, Dr. Felicia Bell, Director of the Troy University Rosa Parks Museum and Lois Cortell, Senior Development Manager for the City of Montgomery provided remarks to explain the significance of the history of the site and this unique new public space.
Salvaged 1940s glass block and salvaged white and blue vitrolite tiles from the original façade will grace the new, recreated entry through to the public park.
The former Montgomery Fair department store building, at 24 North Court Street, where Mrs. Rosa Parks worked as a seamstress, burned down in 1984. It left behind parts of two adjoining, damaged annex buildings. One, at 22 Monroe Street was converted in recent years to residential units. The other is 29 Dexter.
The Montgomery Fair Replica Facade and 29 Dexter Pocket Park project was developed as a solution to provide egress for adjacent buildings at 25 Dexter, 35 Dexter, and into the gorgeous Kress Building of 1929, at 39 Dexter. The renovations and reimaging of these buildings could not occur without this egress. This unique public space will play a very functional role to serve the needs of the adjacent building owners and tenants.
For the pocket park, the roof will be open to allow visitors to observe and enjoy the adjacent buildings. The plan designers did not think it felt right to interrupt these walls, so the deck floats and flows like an observation space for users. Planting strips at the back and on some edges are filled with native grasses to create movement, places for benches and to increase drainage below and away from adjacent buildings.