Koret helps renovate Jerusalems Liberty Bell Park

Sign up for Weekday J and get the latest on what's happening in the Jewish Bay Area.

The Koret Liberty Bell Park is Jerusalem's most popular city park. Covering nine acres of land in the heart of the city, the park is widely used by Jewish, Christian and Muslim families.

The park include sports facilities, a picnic area, a 1,000-seat amphitheater, a puppet theater, a music corner and areas for exhibitions, folk dancing and performances.

The idea for the park came about in 1976 to give a present to the United States in honor of its bicentennial.

"We in Jerusalem, led by [then-Mayor] Teddy Kollek, felt we should honor the U.S. on this special occasion. Over the years, we have been privileged to receive many gifts from the U.S., and we wanted to give something in return," said Ruth Cheshin, president of Kolleck's Jerusalem Foundation, which spearheaded the renovation effort.

"So, we began to raise funds in schools throughout the country. Little by little, as the funds were raised, we inaugurated different sections of the park. We chose to call the park Liberty Bell because this is the symbol of the founding of the U.S."

Renovations included burying underground electric high-tension cables, installing new stone pathways and an irrigation system, replacing pillars and lighting on the main park thoroughfare, and relaying the park's lawns.

The main access way was repaved, making it wheelchair accessible. Also adapted for the disabled were the interior pathways that, in the past, were too steep for their use.

The sports area now includes room for basketball, soccer, volleyball, pingpong, roller skating and other activities.

Central Square has undergone a general facelift. Upgraded and with new lighting, it is once again a venue for exhibits, fairs, folk dancing, performances and events.

Still to be completed are the renovations to the amphitheater and the early-childhood activity center.