Four Freedoms Park:
The Hallmark of FDR’s Legacy
The groundbreaking of Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park, an architectural marvel located at the center of the East River on scenic Roosevelt Island, New York City, designed to pay homage to the legacy of the former governor and president, has finally begun.
Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park, 37 years in the making, will offer a brilliant landscape that will serve as a reflection of President Roosevelt’s vision of a world of four essential freedoms: Freedom of Speech, Freedom to Worship, Freedom from Want, and Freedom from Fear, which he dictated in his historic Four Freedoms speech on January 6, 1941.
“Four Freedoms Park will be a civic place of universal significance and provide a permanent reminder of President Roosevelt’s vision for a better, more peaceful, world,” said Ambassador William vanden Heuvel, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park.
Making History with a Chapter from FDR
The public will have a chance to be part of history, through sponsorship opportunities, by having one’s name engraved in stone … and in the minds of generations to come.
Recognition opportunities include sponsorship of the following:
• Founders Wall: $1,000,000
• West or East Forecourt: $1,000,000
• West or East Allee: $2,500,000
• The Forecourt: $2,500,000
• West or East Promenade: $3,000,000
• Great Lawn: $5,000,000
• Grand Stair: $5,000,000
• A Chapter from President’s Legacy: $50,000 (only 144 are available)
Four Freedoms Park is expected to cost about $50 million. Over $43 million has been raised thus far, from a combination of city, state and private sources, including $10 million in government funds and another $10 million from the Alphawood Foundation in Chicago.
Forty years ago, the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute (then known as Four Freedoms Foundation) began planning a memorial in New York. In 1973, Roosevelt Island was officially named as the site and plans were disclosed. But, the development was marred by many obstacles.
Ironically, groundbreaking of Four Freedoms Park has opened up about 200 jobs for workers, including architects, landscapers, construction engineers, carvers, and stone quarry workers, at a time when the economy is emerging from one of the most devastating financial crisis, symbolic of the Great Depression, and that which gave rise to World War II, and sparked President Roosevelt’s ideals of freedom.
The triangular four-and-a-half acre Park, one of the last works designed by late American architect, Louis I. Kahn, in 1974, will help to solidify President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s ideals of freedom and create a lasting impression in the minds of many generations to come.
Hallmarks of the Park Symbolic features include:
• The Sculpture Court, just beyond the Promenade, will feature a bronze bust of President FDR created from life in 1933, by renowned artist, Jo Davidson
• Two rows of 150 Little Leaf Linden trees on either side of the great lawn each will symbolize a milestone in FDR’s presidency
• President Roosevelt’s “Four Freedoms” will be carved into the three open granite “walls” surrounding the Park
• Scenes from the Garden and Promenade will capture the panoramic views of the city’s skyline and waterfront
History and Technology
This state-of-the art memorial, which will open in the fall 2012, will serve as a classroom to the world on the remarkable history of the life and times of Franklin D. Roosevelt. Visitors, foreign and domestic, while absorbing the picturesque landscape of the Park, would be treated to a fascinating story associated with an extraordinary piece of history via a smart phone application, offered free to all.
- Abigail E. La Croix