Munn Park was established as Lakeland’s town square in 1884. The entire City block was dedicated by Abraham Munn as a Public Square to forever remain in public ownership as a park in 1889 with walkways, a bandshell, and a drinking well. The park served as a backdrop to Lakeland’s first train station, located at the northern border along the train tracks. Early in the 20thcentury the park served as an outdoor meeting place and center of public debate.
Over the years, the park has undergone several changes. In 1910 a Confederate monument was placed in the center of the park honoring those that died in the Civil War. Later, ponds and gardens were added. In 1961, angular walkways were installed, and a water fountain was added. In 1989, the park was redesigned to enhance the character of the surrounding Munn Park Historic District, highlighting the original town square concept. The Confederate monument was relocated to Veterans Park in 2019 and perimeter seating along with accent lighting was installed over the past two years to further enhance the usefulness of the park.
Following a professional development trip to Carmel, Indiana City Manager Shawn Sherrouse brought back some ideas and concepts that were part of that community’s pedestrian-based planned development. “Carmel incorporated a number of active uses around their town square, and I immediately thought about Lakeland and our own downtown,” said Sherrouse. “We continue to look at ways to improve the experience our citizens and guests have when they visit downtown. The goal is to have year-round activity with a mixture of recreational uses in Munn Park. Over the past few years, we have introduced some really cool elements that helped create a downtown identity and we want that same excitement to spill over into our town square.”