Renee Van Nett Pavilion at Lincoln Park; Honoring a legacy
On Tuesday, October 17th, the City of Duluth is hosting a reopening celebration for Lincoln Park and the late city councilor Renee Van Nett.
Van Nett passed away at the age of 52 years-old after battling cancer. She was the first ever Native American woman to be elected to the Duluth City Council in 2017. She then became the first native American president to serve the council in 2021.
Community members gathered for a ribbon cutting, family friendly activities, and music by Jazz duo Ben Pichler and Grant Carl. Those in attendance wearing sunflowers to honor Renee.
“I couldn’t think of a better flower to describe her,” said Hannah Alstead. Alstead says she was personally asked by Van Nett to take her place in serving the 4th district during her battle with cancer.
The Renee Van Nett Pavilion is a historic space that holds history dating back to the 1890’s. Now, it will carry Van Nett’s story for generations to come.
Recently completed improvements include new ADA-compliant restrooms, relocation and replacement of the playground, two new parking lots, a new nature playscape, a new multi-use sport court, and more. The City also added new accessible trails, and improved signage and wayfinding.
Senior Parks Planner Cliff Knettel says that they started to make improvements before Van Netts passing. When she passed, a few city councilors had the idea of rededicating the space to her.
Vann Nett served the Lincoln Park neighborhood, “I think she would be proud of the work we’ve done here,” said Knettel.
Lincoln Park will be open to the public starting on Tuesday but visitors are encouraged to limit their time on the lawn until the turf is established. Duluth Parks and Recreation staff will begin taking reservations for the park in January 2024.