Koret awards $1.2 million grant to refurbish park in Jerusalem

The Koret grant will be used to construct a new clock tower and for park improvements such as pedestrian malls, trellises, parkways, benches, gates, floodlighting and extensive landscape enhancements.

Improvements will be made to all areas of the park, including to a multipurpose activities plaza and to an early childhood center.

Several municipal departments will rotate events in the plaza, including exhibitions, fairs, folk dancing, plays and concerts.

Park visitors also can enjoy a roller-skating rink, basketball courts, play structures, grassy fields, an amphitheater, open-air arts and crafts workshops and a library featuring books in Hebrew, Arabic and English.

According to former Jerusalem Mayor Teddy Kollek, who serves as chairman of the international council for the Jerusalem Foundation, "This park is the most popular and most utilized recreational area we have in Jerusalem.

"Because it's near Arab, Christian and Jewish areas, it's a natural meeting place for all the different communities to gather for sports, theatrical events and music.

"Programs for new immigrants, elderly residents, the disabled and schoolchildren are held there as well. It is in the Koret Liberty Bell Park that children of all nationalities play together, learning to accept and understand each other, an important catalyst for social integration."

Kollek thanked the Koret Foundation for its "generous gift, which will greatly improve the park and offer residents and visitors, whom we want to attract, a respite from the rigors of urban life."

The former mayor also noted that "every penny the Jerusalem Foundation receives is invested in the city and goes to areas the national government can't afford."

Previous gifts from Koret, totaling $730,000 to the 30-year-old Jerusalem Foundation established by Kollek and others, funded a neighborhood park, assisted in the building of a counseling center for high-risk youth, promoted free art and cultural activities and supported the development of local arts organizations.

"The foundation's grant memorializes our long-standing commitment to the state of Israel and reflects Koret's love of the city of Jerusalem and its admiration for and friendship with Teddy Kollek," says Taube.

The Koret Foundation, which has supported community projects in Israel and the Bay Area since its founding in 1979, is one of the largest Jewish-sponsored charitable trusts in the United States, with assets of $200 million.

During the past 15 years, Koret has awarded more than $17 million to over 1,000 agencies in the Jewish and general communities. Resulting programs have impacted education, public policy, the arts, the homeless, young people and the elderly.