William H. Thorpe Memorial Park

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The William H. Thorpe Memorial Park on 1200 and 1300 blocks of East Pierce Street celebrates the life and community impact of Bill Thorpe, the first Black police officer to serve in the Macomb Police Department. The Park also adds a needed greenspace and neighborhood amenity in the northeast area of town, improving the quality of life for residents.

The creation of the William H. Thorpe Park has truly been a community-wide endeavor. The Thorpe family donated the land to the City of Macomb to start the process. City Council, administration, and staff have worked to support and move this project forward. Donations, partnerships, and volunteering efforts both large and small have helped make this possible. As the Park continues to move closer to completion, donations are welcomed and deeply appreciated. Donation checks should be made out to the Macomb Community Foundation with Thorpe Park in the comments and sent to the Mayor’s Office at City Hall.

The story of Mr. Thorpe is inspiring and important. Bill Thorpe, born in 1933, grew up in Macomb and graduated from both Macomb High School and Western Illinois University. He served in the military from 1951-1955, including service in the Korean War. Thorpe joined the Macomb Police Department in 1961, becoming the City of Macomb and McDonough County’s first Black police officer. Thorpe was promoted to sergeant and served as an interim lieutenant.

Thorpe’s unwavering commitment to fairness and justice for all, regardless of race or ethnicity, endeared him to both Black and White communities. His exceptional communication skills and ability to bridge cultural divides made him a valuable asset in Macomb’s diverse community. Thorpe’s dedication to public service extended beyond his role as an officer; his selflessness and willingness to lend a helping hand earned him admiration and appreciation from all corners of the community.

Thorpe’s determination and perseverance in the face of discrimination and inequality served as a powerful example for his family and community, demonstrating the transformative power of one’s actions on the lives of those around them. His legacy will continue to inspire and encourage individuals of all backgrounds, reminding us of the limitless potential of the human spirit.

Again, donations are needed and appreciated. Donation checks should be made out to the McDonough County Community Foundation with Thorpe Park in the comments and sent to the Mayor’s Office at City Hall (232 East Jackson Street, Macomb IL 61455).

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