Buntin-Becker and Emery Parks Appeal to the Kid in All of Us
Ann Buntin Becker Playfield measures about two acres and is bounded by apartments and townhomes that front Beech Street, Murray Avenue, Oak and Chestnut Streets. Its open, grassy area attracts dogs and their owners, while attractive playground equipment provides climbing and swinging fun for a variety of age groups. Originally, the area was used as allotment gardens by residents. During World War II the land was used as a Victory Garden and supplement meals for the schools during this time of strict vegetable rationing and shortages. After the war, the mayor wanted to return the land to allotment gardens, but residents lobbied to use the area as a playground for their children. Dr. Ann Buntin Becker was a local dentist and civic leader who was concerned with the welfare of children. She and her husband moved to Mariemont in 1925. She became the first woman to serve on Mariemont Village Council and was instrumental in developing the Mariemont Building Code. In 1951, the park was dedicated to her memory.
Mary Emery Park is better known as the tennis courts. These courts were part of the original Village plan, although initially only five were built. Two more were added in 1976. The tennis courts are adjacent to the Parish Center, which used to be the Recreation Building, and were part of a planned complex that would have included a stadium and a high school. However, Mrs. Emery’s death and the stock market crash of 1929 intervened, and the vision was never completed.