Regina Dunkin honored as park now bears her name

Regina Dunkin honored as park now bears her name Main Photo

14 Apr 2024

BELOIT — Summit Park in Beloit has been a center for activity for the Black community for years. Now, the park is named after the first Black woman to hold the office of Beloit City Council president.

A ceremony was held Saturday, renaming the park at 1218 Henry Ave., Regina Dunkin Park, and numerous people turned out to sing the praises of Dunkin, who has served as Merrill Community Center executive director, as a member of the School District of Beloit Board of Education, as a member of the Wisconsin Public Defenders Board, and much more.

Dunkin told the crowd gathered in the park Saturday that she is honored to have the park named after her and it was totally unexpected.

“It just touches my heart,” Dunkin said. “I will be forever grateful for that.”

Dunkin will be stepping down as a member of the Beloit City Council when new members of the council take the oath of office on Tuesday. She has served eight years on the council — four of those years as council president. She said in a previous interview with the Beloit Daily News that she wanted to make room for new people to be leaders in the community.

Marc Perry, who took over as director of the Merrill Community Center after Dunkin retired from that position, said Dunkin is the ultimate role model for young people in the community.

He said when he was growing up, there was no Merrill Community Center where a Black youth such as himself could go to take part in activities after school. However, there was Summit Park, which was the center for events such as June Teenth and other events where people of the neighborhood would gather.

He said it is fitting that the park now is named after Dunkin who has worked so hard to make the community grow and prosper.

“Her heart is gold. Her heart is huge and it is full of love for everyone,” he said. “She is forever etched in the history of the City of Beloit.”

Rock County Judge Ashley Morse said Dunkin is deserving of the honor and praise she received Saturday. She said she embodies the spirit of civic responsibility.

She said the park now will serve as a place for families and young people to gather, to learn to play basketball and to take part in community events, fostering growth and a sense of community with the name Regina Dunkin prominently displayed.

“So many of us have been able to grow and bloom with her support,” Morse said.


State Sen. Mark Spreitzer said he has known Regina for years and he knows she always has focused on the people of Beloit. He said she has been active in so many endeavors. He said she recently stepped down as a member of the Wisconsin Public Defenders Board after 20 years of service. But, he said she is not done serving the city and the state.

“She never stops moving and she never stops giving back to the community,” he said.

State Rep. Clinton Anderson noted he served on the city council with Dunkin and she has pavedthe way for the next generation of leaders.

“She is a great leader and a great friend,” Anderson said.

State Rep. Sheila Stubbs said she happy to be home in Beloit. She now represents the 77th Assembly District in the Madison area, but her childhood was spent in Beloit.

“I grew up on Wisconsin Avenue,” she said, adding a note to those gathered at the event. “Thank you for raising me.”

She said Dunkin has always worked for the betterment of the city and its people.

“Now, this park is named after someone who believes in the vision of the City of Beloit,” she said.

Congressman Bryan Steil, said he has always admired the people of Beloit and he admires Dunkin.

“Regina is a doer in a city of doers — people who step up and get things done,” he said.

Dunkin thanked all of the people who turned out for the park renaming and she thanked her family, who supported her in her many endeavors. She said she hopes the park serves as a place where people come together in the community.

“Let’s work together to make this a fun, safe and special place for the entire community,” she said.

Add to ReportView Custom Report