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Celebrating Diversity, Unity

Update On Two Parks Renamed To Honor African-American Families’ Contributions To Frisco

In March 2021, Frisco city council members approved renaming First Street Park as Jack Hamilton Park and Persimmon Park behind Frisco City Hall as Jimmy and Clara Jones Park. These were the first two Frisco parks to be named after African-Americans. 

Frisco Park and Trail Naming Committee members recommended reviewed 36 applications proposing 12 different names, according to a city staff memo. 

The half-acre Jack Hamilton Park was named after the pastor who founded Frisco's first African-American church in 1914 in his home, and later moved the church to its current location at First and Ash streets. The church building also served as Frisco’s first African-American school until 1964. During weekdays, the building was known as Hamilton Elementary School, and on weekends it became Hamilton Chapel Baptist Church.

The park was originally completed during 1980. It features a basketball court, picnic tables and a playground.

Jimmy and Clara Jones also have strong ties to the Hamilton Chapel Baptist Church and Frisco community. Jimmy Jones is the great-nephew of Jack. Jimmy, Clara and their children lived near the church, with decades of involvement. Their contributions extended beyond the Black community to benefit the city as well as Frisco ISD. 

Construction on the Jimmy and Clara Jones Park was expected to be completed by summer 2022, however, at the end of 2022, additional drainage systems and adjustments to the interpretive play area were still underway. A design concept for the park was chosen through public input for the 2.8-acre site behind city hall south of Page Street between Jacob and Burlington streets. The concept is multifunctional due to its location near apartments, homes, businesses, the public library and city hall. Possible amenities include an amphitheater, meandering paths and electrical outlets and Wi-Fi. Proposed landscaping was inspired by North Texas Blackland Prairie ecoregion.

February includes Black History Month, during which contributions of African-American communities throughout U.S. history are commemorated, from civil rights leaders, journalists and inventors to musicians, artists and politicians. In 1926, a weeklong celebration highlighted history, lives and contributions of Black Americans. In 1976, that week was officially made monthlong celebration.

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