Native American blessing and new signs help revamp Dubuque park - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Native American blessing and new signs help revamp Dubuque park

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DUBUQUE (KWWL) -

Members of the Tama Meskwaki tribe gathered in Dubuque's Jackson Park Saturday morning to present a Native American blessing, complete with songs and drumming.

The ceremonial blessing covered not only the park but also the park's 1913 memorial monument, which features Potosa, who was not only the daughter of local Meskwaki chief Peosta but also the wife of Dubuque's founder, Julien Dubuque.

The event is part of an overall effort to help improve the park's reputation and create a greater sense of pride in the area.

Jeff Montgomery Sr. is a member of the Downtown Neighborhood Association. He said the park has been battling a bad reputation for the past couple of years, but he believes that reputation is changing.

"It's changed a lot. I see people a lot more coming down and enjoying themselves playing football and having picnics and actually enjoying the park instead of ignoring the park," said Montgomery.

Montgomery said he hopes the blessing and dedication ceremony on Saturday allows others in the community to see the park in a more positive light.

"There is less crime, less trouble and a lot less trashing of the park," said Montgomery.

The park will have a new arched sign bearing the park's name, plus three new signs designed to inform visitors of the park's rich history. It started as a cemetery and is now a community space and the starting point for many local parades.

The Downtown Neighborhood Association received a City of Dubuque Large Neighborhood Grant to purchase the new signs. This revitalization is an effort between neighborhood residents, various departments within the city of Dubuque, local historians and area businesses.

Lauren DeWitt contributed to this story.

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