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On September 24, 2000, a pioneering organization was founded by volunteers with a premise that believed that “Delano Park is a legacy for everyone.” Friends of Delano Park was formed with a mission to preserve, improve, promote, and maintain historic Delano Park in partnership with the City of Decatur. This public-private partnership made possible a comeback decade of building for a cherished public space in the heart of our city. In 2000, the city’s expanded park system, with its more organized recreational facilities, had left Delano Park behind-neglected and well-worn. But neglect could not hide the park’s architectural and landscape design significance, its charm, or its potential. The development of a master plan and its implementation began the restoration of the park’s historic structures and the enhancement of its beautification and recreation.

In 2010, the Delano Park Conservancy was incorporated to help secure the future and maintain the level of excellence in preservation in which we take such great pride. Since 2000, we have planted more than 200 trees, restored many of Delano Park’s major landscapes, historic stone structures, walkways, Rose Garden, signage, and facilities for children. The Delano Park Conservancy’s commitment to a beautifully restored and preserved Delano Park is possible due to an unprecedented investment of over $2,000,000 in the park-over a million of which was raised from private sources, individuals, corporations, and foundations and over a million from grants. Park use has soared. Indeed, the transformation of Delano Park has been remarkable, but the hard work is not over. Please join us in this second decade of preservation as the Conservancy continues to restore this community treasure in partnership with the City of Decatur for the enjoyment of all people.


Our mission is to preserve, protect, enhance, restore, and maintain Delano Park in partnership with the City and the people of Decatur. We strive to educate the public through programs and exhibits as well as offer a venue for people with a passion for history, the arts, and our region’s cultural heritage.




September 2000

Friends of Delano Park established goals envisioned and mission statement developed:

  • Restoration of historic Rose Garden
  • Development of a master plan for entire park to be implemented in phases
  • Restoration of WPA-built stone structures
  • Repairing and enhancing resources and facilities for all children

January 2001

  • Assembly of leadership

September 2001

  • Fundraising campaign kickoff

October 2001

  • Alabama Historical Commission (AHC) grant awarded for master plan of entire park – $10,000
  • AHC grant awarded for addition of park to National Register of Historic Places – $6,000

June 2002

  • AHC stone rehabilitation grant awarded – $25,000
  • Economic Development Initiative (EDI) grant awarded for Rose Garden terrace – $50,000

October 2002

  • First fundraising event – Rose Garden

May 2003

  • Department of Transportation (DOT) T-21 grant awarded for Trail of History – $250,000

September 2004

  • Alabama State Council on the Arts grant awarded for planning of performance area and
    memorial plaza – $10,000
  • Land and Water Conservation Fund (L&WCF) grant awarded for Phase I of Children’s
    Play Area – SplashPad – $200,000

May 2005

  • EDI grant awarded for improvements to Delano Park- $48,600
  • Junior League announces signature project – A Playground and Garden for
    All Children in Delano Park

October 2005

  • Second fundraising event – accessible playground

December 2005

  • 29 trees planted throughout park

April 2006

  • Stone entry sign at Gordon Drive and 6th Avenue completed

May 2006

  • SplashPad opened
  • Rose Garden completed

June 2006

  • Delano Park Conservancy fund established for the long-term maintenance of the park

January 2007

  • Trail of History construction began
  • 22 trees planted throughout park in addition to 24 trees planted along Trail of History

May 2007

  • Rose Garden dedication
  • L&WCF grant awarded for Phase II of the Children’s Play Area – $500,000

June 2008

  • Rose Garden dedication
  • Accessible restroom in historic bathhouse complete

December 2008

  • State of Alabama Council on the Arts grant awarded – $6,600 garden sculpture

February 2009

  • 99 trees planted throughout park

May 2009

  • Playground opens

December 2009

  • State of Alabama Council on the Arts grant awarded – $5,000 Garden sculpture

May 2010

  • Third fundraising event – Conservancy

December 2010

  • State of Alabama Council on the Arts grant awarded – $5,000 Garden sculpture
  • Delano Park Conservancy is incorporated

May 2011

  • Riverwild Garden (accessible children’s garden) officially opens
  • IRS determines that Delano Park Conservancy is exempt from Federal income tax under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code

July 2011

  • Bronze beaver sculpture installed on Kiwanis Beaver Lodge Terrace

October 2011

  • Bronze swamp rabbit sculpture installed on
  • Frog Island

November 2011

  • Alabama Tourism Department matching grant awarded – $2,500 to develop website
  • Alabama Tourism Department competitive grant awarded – $10,000 to install interpretive/directional signage on existing sandstone columns at 4th Avenue & Gordon Drive and at 8th Avenue & Prospect Drive

May 2012

  • Interpretive/directional signage installed

November 2012

  • launched

May 2013

  • Park maintenance plan developed

October 2013

  • Partnership established with State Department of Corrections

November 2013

  • Master Plan update completed

March 2014

  • Riverwild donor signage installed

April 2014

  • Hired Lawnscapes, LLC to provide Rose Garden and Riverwild maintenance

June 2014

  • Partnership established with DDRA for Rose Garden and Riverwild maintenance

December 2014

  • “Good Things Are Worth Preserving” Campaign begins

January 2015

  • Hired Hannah’s Lawn and Landscape Service, Inc. to provide Rose Garden
    and Riverwild maintenance

February 2015

  • Franklin group trip

March 2015

  • Alabama’s Mountains, Rivers, and Valleys grant awarded $26,940 for identification for Rose Garden and Riverwild and educational signage for Riverwild

April 2015

  • Initial Leave No Trace event and lady bug release
  • AMRV RC&D (Alabama’s Mountains, Rivers, and Valleys Resource Conservation and Development Council) grant awarded for Rose Garden and Riverwild identification signage and Phase I Riverwild Garden interpretive signage – $26,940

May 2015

  • Fundraiser at Clint & Nicole Shelton’s home

June 2015

  • “A Sense of Place” presented by Julian Bibb

August 2015

  • Water tower restoration begins

September 2015

  • Historic Preservation Commission approves resolution supporting:  1) maintaining historic metallic silver paint color for water tower and 2) preservation of current historic Delano Park boundaries; all property within those boundaries shall remain open to the public
  • Ben Page & Ed Tessier consultation concerning Rose Garden & 8th Avenue

October 2015

  • State of Tennessee Historian Dr. Van West consultation

November 2015

  • Fundraising brochure mail out 

January 2016

  • Delano Park selected as first urban Leave No Trace Hot Spot

February 2016

  • Water tower restoration completed 

May 2016

  • Rose Garden and Riverwild identification signage installed

September 2016

  • Leave No Trace Hot Spot Week – Delano Park chosen as one of 16 “Hot Spots” across the country – Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers were on site all week and conducted educational programming about taking care of our public spaces

June 2017

  • Phase I Riverwild interpretive signage installed 

July 2017

  • AMRV RC&D grant awarded for Phase II Riverwild Garden interpretive signage – $25,000

September 2017

  • MSNHA grant awarded for Phase II Riverwild Garden interpretive signage – $10,000

May 2017             

  • Hired Vadhir Landscaping and Lawn Care Services to provide Rose Garden and Riverwild maintenance