Skip to main content
State Seal State Seal State Seal
Home Button Home Button Home Button

Black Fork Commons Plaza opens in downtown Shelby

Published By Richland Source on October 26, 2023
Marilyn S. John In The News

The Black Fork Commons Plaza made its Shelby debut with a bang Wednesday evening, in a celebration that included fireworks, live music and remarks from some of the park’s supporters.

Jake Penwell, president of the Community Improvement Corporation of Shelby, said he hopes the park is a gathering space for citizens and families.

“This plaza not only proves to ourselves but those who join us as visitors that we care about where we live,” he said. “It happened because of our desire to collectively join together our dreams, visions, finances, labor and a heck of a lot of love.”

The CIC president thanked donors, engineers and board members that supported the project.

“This is only the first chapter of a long and beautiful story, this is mile marker number one,” Penwell said.

“The CIC is committed to improving economic vitality for Shelby and Richland County. In beauty and in symmetry, there are none that excel Black Fork Commons Plaza.”

State Rep. Marilyn John (R – Richland County), a former mayor of Shelby, said she felt “overwhelmed” entering the park.

“I’m thinking about how far we’ve come and I’m so thankful that in this community, there are so many visionaries,” she said. 

John remembered sitting in her City Hall office with city project coordinator Joe Gies a few years after the 2007 Black Fork Mohican River flood.“We said, ‘What do we name a park in downtown Shelby?’ and we decided we wanted to embrace the Black Fork River,” John said. “I said I really love the word ‘commons’ because commons means where people and the community will come to gather, and here we are.”

Read Full Article