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Park dedicated to couple
By Bev Odom/The Red River Sun—
WELLINGTON — City council and chamber members, city and school employees, family and friends embraced the chance to honor Robert Wayne and the late Louise Powell with the dedication of Powell Park, Friday, Oct. 9.
The Wellington City Council, which Robert Wayne Powell served as a council member for 28 years – from 1987 to 2015, made the decision to name the park to honor of the couple’s positive impact on the community.
Located just east of the Wellington Aquatics Venue and Wellington Activity Center, Powell Park’s extensive walking trail stretches to near Highway 83, crosses a wooden bridge and circles back around and encompasses the former North Park.
“A small community park for many years, the area is in Robert’s neighborhood,” said Jon Sessions, city manager. “Because of what Robert and Louise have done for the community, the city and the school, we want to name the park in their honor.”
Powell operated his automotive repair business on Highway 83, and for 35 years tended the yardage chains for the Skyrocket football games. Mrs. Powell served as a custodian at Wellington schools for more than 20 years following her career as a cook at the Cherokee Inn Restaurant.
The 2013 DIV 2-1A Skyrocket state championship football sign graces the north side of Powell’s shop.
Prestigious Rocket House inductees many years ago, the plaque states that the couple have been workers in eliminating Wellington’s urban blight and making Wellington God’s gift to the panhandle.
Always active in their church and community, the two coached multiple girls’ softball teams for many years, recalled local philanthropist Val White following the dedication ceremony.
“It’s not so much about their color but about their character,” she said. “They supported all the kids by attending every sporting event. They never said a negative word and always encouraged everyone with their smiles. Their kindness in giving back to the community means so much.”
The two graduated from Booker T. Washington School in 1958. Part of the Wellington Independent School District from 1930 until integration in 1965, the school played a key role in the development of the African-American communities in Wellington and nearby towns. The remaining structure is located near Powell Park.
The couple’s niece, Freda Powell, who serves as an Amarillo city council member place 4, thanked everyone for being at the celebration.
“It’s so appropriate in this day and time to be able to name the park after an African-American man and woman, especially in the days we are living right now,” she said. “My aunt and uncle have worked in every area of this community to make it a better place.”
The first Black city council woman in Amarillo, Freda Powell credits her servant’s heart to the example set by her uncle.
“I’m green behind the ears compared to Uncle Robert Wayne’s years of service to the Wellington City Council,” she said. “I’m carrying on the family tradition.”