Indianapolis News and HeadlinesWRTV Investigates


Park in honor of Indianapolis icon still in progress over four years later

Progress on Rev. Charles Williams Park requires $1.7 million
Rev. Charles Williams Park.PNG
Charles Williams Park.PNG
Posted at 5:30 AM, Dec 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-11 10:54:21-05

INDIANAPOLIS — There are questions about the future of a park in honor of an Indy icon.

Charles Williams was an iconic leader of the Indiana Black Expo and the Indianapolis community.

The Rev. Charles R. Williams Park sits across the street from the home of Lois Love Hill, on the near north side. Hill has lived in the neighborhood for more than six decades.

"Charles was helping out here," Hill said. "Charles was in the churches preaching about how they had to help us; to come together."

In 2002, Williams would face his biggest enemy — cancer.

Following his death in 2004, a piece of property near Fall Creek Parkway was named in his honor as a park in 2015.

At a recent Black Expo planning meeting for its 50th year, a man raised concerns about the park, demanding answers.

Charles Williams Park.PNG
RTV6's Rafael Sanchez (right) talks with near north side resident of over 60 years, Lois Love Hill (left), about the vacant Rev. Charles Williams Park.

"I don't see any point in having his name stuck in the ground over there, and doing nothing with the property that they say is Charles Williams park," Hill said.

The creation of the park did come with a blueprint calling for a playground, parking lot, performance shelter, and a trail connected to the Monon and Fall Creek greenways.

At the time, developing the park was priced at $1.7 million. The progress is on hold as an advisory group, which oversees the property, has been meeting for about six months about the park's future.

"I want a park. I want a safe park," Hill said.

At this time, the advisory group that oversees the property is waiting for a $1.5 million grant, according to the group's president Robert Caldwell.

Caldwell just happens to be the fiance of Reverend Williams' daughter and he says they're on a personal quest to make sure the park gets built, and built the right way.

The original cost was $1.7 million. Once the group gets the money, they will update their design to reflect the budget.

Indy Parks submitted a statement to RTV6 about the Charles Williams Park, saying:

"In 2015, Indy Parks was honored to lead efforts for the Rev. Charles R. Williams Park master plan, which brought residents, community leaders, and other groups together to create a blueprint for future park amenities. The plan highlighted the addition of a playground, parking lot, spray ground, performance shelter, bocce ball courts, horseshoe pits, and trail connecting to the Monon and Fall Creek Greenways. Until funding and resources are identified and secured, our team will continue to be an advocate for this park through discussions with groups and with potential funders on the value of enhancing the existing space and through our partnership with the newly formed Rev. Charles R. Williams Park advisory group. As with any major park redevelopment project, it will take a strong community effort and support to truly transform and enhance Rev. Charles R. Williams Park."

Rev. Charles Williams Park
3200 Block of Sutherland Ave.