College Place City Council split on new name for Kiwanis Park

Kiwanis Park will keep its name for now, but could be renamed Veterans Park down the road.

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COLLEGE PLACE -- The city's Kiwanis Park will keep its original name, for now.

A motion to change the park's name to Veterans Park failed by a vote of 4-2 Monday night, but the issue is likely to come back again.

"(Mayor Rick Newby) definitely left it open," Councilwoman Marge Nyhagen said today. Nyhagen and Councilman Steve Dickerson voted for the change. Nyhagen said the mayor and others wanted to talk with veterans and staff members before returning to the topic.

Council members Larry Dickerson, Bernie Yanke, William Jenkins and Scott Duncan voted against the motion to rename the park, which was put forward by Steve Dickerson.

Newby requested a discussion of the issue Monday after being approached by Council members about the possibility of renaming the park, which was created in 1948 after the local Kiwanis Club approached the City Council and offered to pay half the cost.

In 1957, the club also paid half the cost to help the city build tennis courts in the park, said City Administrator Pat Reay. The club, however, is no longer active in College Place, Yanke said.

During the discussion, Nyhagen said a veterans' memorial located behind the city fire station "is just not adequate."

"We have so many veterans serving us and we have nothing to commemorate them," she said.

Yanke said he agreed "and since the Kiwanis Club is no longer active in this area, it would be good to let the veterans take this up."

Ken Silver of the College Place Veterans of Foreign Wars post also urged the council to change the name. "This is my third time speaking on this and I'm hoping the third time is a charm," he said.

Other Council members said they were reluctant to act on the issue Monday.

"I'm not prepared to vote tonight because it's not on the agenda," Larry Dickerson said. "I would like to see this postponed to have time to think about it and talk with other people."

Jenkins agreed, noting there was no "time demand" facing the issue. "I wasn't expecting to see this being a voting item tonight," he said.

After the motion to change the name was rejected, Newby expressed frustration over the failure to resolve the issue.

"I'm very disappointed in the Council for not moving forward," he said.

Andy Porter can be reached at andyporter@wwub.com or 526-8318. Check out his blog at blogs.ublabs.org/randomthoughts.

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