Located across from the Boys and Girls Club, the park was renovated as part of the Belle Haven neighborhood improvement program. The project included new tube steel fencing for the tot lot, new concrete walks, new site furnishings, irrigation modifications, planting and park lighting.
Karl E. Clark Park is a single acre park.
In June 2017, the Parks and Recreation Commission received a request from neighborhood residents to rename Market Place Park after Mr. Karl E. Clark, a long time Belle Haven resident and decorated WWII veteran. Following unanimous votes of the Parks and Recreation Commission and the City Council, a dedication ceremony was held January 15, 2018, to reveal the new park sign and celebrate Mr. Clark and his many contributions to the community.
About Karl E. Clark
Mr. Clark was serving as a steward first class aboard the USS Aaron Ward when Japanese kamikazes attacked the destroyer near Okinawa on May 3, 1945. Mr. Clark was credited for saving the ship, single-handedly putting out the many fires threatening to sink it and for rescuing injured shipmates, carrying them to the infirmary for urgent medical care even though he was badly injured himself. Even though the destroyer’s captain acknowledged that Mr. Clark had saved the ship, it took more than six decades to be fully recognized for his actions, because of his race. Mr. Clark, received the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with the Combat Distinguished Device in 2012.
View a video of Mr. Clark telling about his service in the Navy, including harrowing details about the day his ship was attacked.
Beyond his accomplishments in the military, Mr. Clark made many contributions to the community throughout his lifetime as a community activist and mentor. He was an accomplished author of three books and helped establish the Onetta Harris Community Center and the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Peninsula.