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Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park, landmarked in 1997 as well as the site of many Berkeley festivals and special events, offers a large lawn for sitting and picnicking along with many special features.
- Tot Play Area
- Skate Park
In May 1940, Berkeley voters passed a $125,000 bond measure to acquire property to develop a Civic Center Plaza. The design included contributions from many of Berkeley’s most noted architects and landscape architects, and labor was furnished by the federal Works Projects Administration (WPA). The electrically illuminated fountain set in a flagstone terrace was a gift to the City of Berkeley from the City of San Francisco after the Golden Gate Exposition closed. The City’s first playground, located behind City Hall west of the Civic Center, was moved to Civic Center Park in the 1930s when the Hall of Justice was built. A new “Tiny Tots” playground was opened to the public on May 18, 1948.
The park was designated the Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park in 1983 in honor of the slain civil rights giant. (The park had also been known as Provo Park during the years of the anti-Vietnam War movement, after the progressive political group of that name which was started in Amsterdam.) An Urban Park and Recreation Recovery (UPARR) rehabilitation grant provided approximately $74,000 in 1983–1984 to renovate the tot area, lawn, shrubs, benches, and pathways. The park is scheduled for a complete renovation in coming years using funds from Measure S, a bond measure passed in the mid-1990s for downtown improvements.
- Entire park is landmarked and part of a Historic District
- Historic fountain
- Peace Wall inlaid with tiles made by hundreds of community members
- Multi-purpose turf used for special events and daily lunching by Berkeley High students and others
- Staging area for large gatherings
- Site of large community events, including Earth Day, Cinco de Mayo, and Indigenous People's Day festivals
- Farmers’ Market every Saturday morning on Center Street north of the park