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  • Writer's pictureAhmad Austin

Atlantic City park renamed in honor of Micah Tennant

(Originally published in The Press of Atlantic City on 9/10/2020)

Erica Tennant believed her 10-year-old cousin Micah was going to be a legend.

On Wednesday, nearly 10 months after his death and on what would have been his 11th birthday, that belief had not wavered.

“Any time you had a chance to spend time with him or get a chance to meet him, you just knew he was going to be special,” Erica said. “You’d look into his eyes and immediately fall in love with him.”

Erica, along with other members of the Tennant family and more than 100 city residents, gathered at the Maryland Avenue playground to hold a birthday celebration in honor of Micah.

After several speeches and musical performances, Mayor Marty Small Sr. unveiled the park’s new sign, officially making it Micah “Dew” Tennant Park.

“He left this Earth far too soon,” Small said, “and (renaming the park) was the right thing to do. Today’s a special day to do it, on his 11th birthday, and we look forward to phase two on Memorial Day weekend.” Micah Tennant died Nov. 20, 2019, after being shot five days earlier at a Pleasantville High School football game.

So far, two men have been sentenced on charges in connection to the shooting and two others have had their charges dropped. Alvin Wyatt, 31, who is charged with Micah’s murder, is set to appear in court next month, while Ibn Abdullah, who authorities said was Wyatt’s intended target, has a hearing next week.

Renaming the park and renovating the playground were phase one of the project to honor Micah. The second phase, Small said, will include a splash pad for kids to play in during the summer and murals that will be painted on both of the park’s basketball courts. Residents packed the park for a day of fun and remembrance. Children played on the playground and basketball courts before everyone in attendance observed tributes to Micah from the community.

Several city agencies attended the event, with vehicles displayed from the Police Department, Fire Department and Bomb Squad for people to look inside. Officers fired up the grill and served hot dogs and burgers, and 200 backpacks were given away.

Second Ward Councilwoman LaToya Dunston said she’ll remember Micah for his smile.

“Micah played a major role in many of our lives,” Dunston said. “He was dear and special to me, and a lot of the children on the drill team would say that I played favorites, but Micah’s smile, the love, the energy he gave, was true and amazing. His smile will forever live on.”

Michele Garrett, a cousin of the family, and Alfred Tennant, another cousin, each performed songs in his honor.

Members of the XCLUSIVE Drummers and city rapper Gatti800 also performed.

Before the unveiling of the sign, a birthday cake donated by Resorts Casino Hotel was shown to the crowd. Micah played for the Atlantic City Dolphins youth football team and wanted to become a professional DJ, so the cake featured a football and a drum machine. “A lot of you know Dew because of his love for music and his dreams of becoming a DJ,” Erica said. “Unfortunately, that was cut short, but we can’t let his life and legacy live in vain. “Even in death, Dew managed to reach millions of lives all across the world, so we know that he would’ve been a star if he was still here.”

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