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'This will be a destination' | Van Turner announces big plans for Health Sciences Park

Van Turner, president of the NAACP Memphis Branch and Memphis Greenspace, said the park will be partnering with Memphis Juneteenth Festival organizers.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — After two years of hosting Memphis' biggest Juneteenth celebration, Van Turner announced Friday the city's Health Sciences Park will be partnering with Telisa Franklin, the organizer for the Juneteenth celebration. 

Turner announced the partnership Friday alongside Franklin at the park, formerly named Forrest Park after confederate general Nathan Bedford Forrest, who also was a founding member of the Ku Klux Klan. 

The park was renamed in 2013, and a statue of Forrest on horseback removed in 2017, but it wasn't until 2021 that Forrest's remains and those of his wife were exhumed from the park and moved to the National Confederate Museum in Columbia, Tennessee. 

"I predict this park will be a destination for when you come to Memphis," Turner said. "There will be so much activity here, so many events, this park will be so utilized that if you're here, you can't help but visit Health Sciences Park." 

Franklin has been the president of the Memphis Juneteenth Festival since 2011. The Festival has seen a huge increase in visitors since the day became a federal holiday in 2021.

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