Thirty years ago, when visiting my parents and grandparents, I was delighted to take my six year old daughter to visit Pioneer Park and the then new Aviary. Every trip thereafter required a visit to feed the squirrels and view the birds.
The park I grew up loving remained a place of delight and wonder.
We are now retired and have relocated to the Walla Walla Valley. That daughter is now a surgical nurse in Seattle. A professional woman saving lives on a daily basis.
Still, and with each of her visits, the experience would be incomplete without a trip to the Aviary. Afterward, we have lunch somewhere in town and, no doubt, do some shopping. An expensive, yet invaluable, outing.
Most often these days, it is the French bulldog and myself at the park each day. We watch the birds with fascination. No doubt, the squirrels add great interest for the dog.
It is a delight for us both to interact with the new generations of families that bring their children and grandchildren to create new memories. Daily, our sojourn is accompanied with trip to a local drive-through. A small cheeseburger for the pup and a nice day for us both.
For decades, I was a public school superintendent with annual operational and capital budgets of $70 million to $90 million. As such, we acknowledged that certain areas of interest did not align with the priorities of all or even a majority of patrons.
However, we also understood that our community would become dull and lifeless without the enrichment these opportunities afford. Such objects of expenditure as playgrounds, recreational facilities, sport fields, performing arts, grounds landscaping, structural aesthetics, visual arts, aquatic center and libraries with extended hours.
None of these used regularly by a majority of the public, but all essential to a vibrant and enriching cultural environment. We worked the budget and found the resources because it was necessary and correct.
I am a contributing “friend”of the Aviary. We should all be friendly toward the Aviary. Especially the city of Walla Walla and its officials.
A community is much more than roads, sidewalks, streetlights, and utilities. However, set public policy predominantly by majority use/interest and we soon become a place of asphalt, concrete, glass, and metal — a darned boring place to live and visit.
The Aviary is a remarkable resource of which we can all be proud.