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Park names debate settles down

SNOHOMISH — After a sometimes contentious three-year process, five Snohomish parks are nearly ready to debut new names.
Parks board and Park Naming Committee members met Feb. 27 to settle on the names that would go to the City Council for final
consideration and approval.
Naming for four of the five went smoothly.
The group selected Whistle Stop for the park next to the Centennial Trail at 1103 Maple St.; Harrymans Farm Park for a Lake Avenue property; Homestead Park for the 2000 Ludwig Road lot; and Averill Field, after the hometown baseball Hall of Famer, for the former Hal Moe pool site.
After much discussion, the fifth name proceeding to the City Council is Julia's Landing* for the 20-acre park and boat launch along the Snohomish River.
Many of the park name suggestions had been vetted over months or years, but one late entry for the riverside park sparked a sometimes painful debate.
Marine Corps Cpl. Jeffrey Starr was killed at age 22 by a sniper in 2005 during his third tour in Iraq.
His name was put forth at a December park board meeting as an alternate amid concerns that another preferred name, Julia Park, fell short in honoring the woman history now only knows by her English moniker.
Julia refers to a Native American merchant who witnessed the signing of the 1855 treaty of Point Elliott. But the historic woman’s birth name is unknown. People are concerned Julia doesn’t honor tribal contributions to the region.
After scattered criticism that no one veteran should be singled out in the naming process, Starr’s parents came to last week’s board meeting with a message.
And, Brian and Shellie Starr had a request.
“Thank you for your consideration and the opportunity ... but given how contentious” the suggestion is, “we respectfully request the parks board withdraw his name.”
In response to the criticism, they said that raising up one fallen Marine raised them all.The Starrs hope that their son may yet be remembered elsewhere in the city, and plan to meet further with the board.
In the meantime, the Starrs said they wanted the group to get to know their son. In words and images they described a young man possessed of valor and loyalty, a leader and an inspiration to those who knew him.
With the memorial park name option taken off the table, the committee returned to Julia Park. The name was set after a shift from Park to Landing, which better encapsulated the parcel.
In other parks business, the board approved member Rich Patton as the new board chair. Patton succeeds former chair Lya Badgley, who decided to step down.
With three parks yet to be named, the board will also be seeking out more naming committee members. To learn more, go to www.snohomishwa.gov/111/Park-Recreation-Board

 

* - CORRECTION:
The official name determined was Julia's Landing, not Julia Landing as stated in the print edition. The Tribune regrets the error.

  

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