Toyota to name new park in downtown Evansville

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EVANSVILLE, Ind (WEHT) Toyota has been given the honor of naming a new park under construction in downtown Evansville. On the former site of Holy Trinity Church at 3rd and Court Streets, a stormwater storage facility is going to be placed, with the park built on top of it.

The park is a collaborative effort between the City of Evansville, Toyota Indiana, Evansville Water & Sewer Utility, and the University of Evansville Center for Innovation & Change. UE student Robert Lopez has taken charge of the project over the last four years, working closely with several community partners. Lopez first pitched this project as a junior at Bosse High School with fellow junior Caro Haynie.

“Working on this park has been nothing short of a life-changing experience,” Lopez said. “Starting as a junior in high school, I’ve been able to take this idea from sketches on a whiteboard, to presenting a virtual 3D walk through to the Mayor, and UE’s Center has been there the whole way. Without this project and the amazing team at the Center, I wouldn’t be who I am today. I only hope that someday I can inspire someone the way they inspired me and help them change their community too.”

Toyota has donated $350,000 to this project. In addition to naming the park, Toyota will work with Lopez and the UE Center for Innovation & Change to identify more green space funding opportunities. Toyota has sponsored each High School Changemaker Challenge at UE, including the 2022 challenge that’s currently underway.

“We are extremely honored to be the lead supporter on such a transformative project,” said Ted Brown, vice president of administration at Toyota Indiana. “Robert’s vision for an innovative solution–to what many may have considered a standard infrastructure project–shows leadership, vision and pride for his community. That’s why programs like UE’s Changemaker Challenge are so vital to the evolution and growth of our region, and why we at Toyota Indiana continue to support these efforts. We want to challenge those in our communities to seek out opportunities to pioneer ideas for our future like Robert did, so that together we can build a better future.”

The next phase of this project will be to install the storm water storage facility and water line replacement, along with development of the park space. This project should divert 25 acres of storm water runoff and reduce combined sewer overflows that would go into the Ohio River. Above ground, the design of park amenities will be finalized and construction of them can begin.

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