Clinton Magazine Spring 2022 - Page 4

Eagle Point Park can thank WPA for structures

Baseball stadium , lighthouses also built under WPA program

by winona whitaker

The Works Progress Administration was an ambitious employment and infrastructure program created by President Franklin D . Roosevelt in 1935 . For eight years during the Great Depression , WPA put nearly 8.5 million Americans to work , according to History . com .

In Clinton County , men found work building Riverview Stadium and stone structures at Eagle Point Park , according to The Living New Deal , an organization that researches and documents New Deal public works . WPA crews built Riverview Stadium from 1935 to 1937 and conducted storm drain development in the city . At Eagle Point Park , workers deepened and widened Battle Creek , built trails and footbridges and constructed many stone structures .
Other sources say WPA also built the lighthouses along the river .
President Franklin D . Roosevelt created the WPA with an executive order May 6 , 1935 , according to History . com . It was part of his New Deal plan to lift the country out of the Great Depression by reforming the financial system and restoring the economy to pre-Depression levels .
The unemployment rate in 1935 was 20 %. The WPA – which was renamed the Work Projects Administration in 1939 – employed mostly unskilled men to carry out public works infrastructure projects . They built more than 4,000 new school buildings , erected 130 new hospitals , laid nearly 9,000 miles of storm drains and sanitary sewer lines , built 29,000 new bridges , constructed 150 new airfields , paved or repaired 280,000 miles of roads and planted 24 million trees , History . com says .
Riverview Stadium , the home of Minor League Baseball ’ s Midwest League teams from 1956 to 2020 , was built from 1935 to 1937 . A plaque to commemorate the work is still displayed at
4 Clinton Magazine Spring 2022