JACKSON, Miss. — The oldest public park in Mississippi’s capital city has reopened.

Gov. Phil Bryant, Mayor Chokwe Lumumba and others saluted the reopening of downtown Jackson’s Smith Park on Friday.

Barricades around the park were removed after a private downtown group spent $150,000 to thin trees, remove berms and masonry waterways and lay grass to create a more open space.

New walkways and benches were also installed.

Officials tell local media they hope the more open layout and a sunset curfew will alleviate safety concerns that dogged the park, previously a magnet for homeless people.

Advocates continue to lobby state lawmakers to borrow $2.5 million to finance additional improvements.

The park remains the only undeveloped square from Jackson’s original 1822 city plan. The state donated the land to the city in 1838.