At the Key Pen Park board of commissioners meeting December 14, the board responded to an earlier proposal presented by a group of community leaders.
Locals Phil Bauer, Frank Dibiase, Frank Garratt, Bruce Macdonald, Jeff Minch, Jud Morris and Todd Rosenbach joined forces in November to deliver an unexpected pitch to park commissioners — to revise the name of Gateway Park or 360 Trails to include the name of Scott Gallacher, former Key Pen Parks executive director, who died unexpectedly at work April 30, 2020.
Jud Morris, retired manager of Children’s Home Society of Washington Key Peninsula Family Resource Center, cited the growth of Key Pen Parks since his own arrival in 2006. He listed the Home Park and playground, the playground and pavilion at Key Peninsula Civic Center, 360 Trails, Maple Hollow, Gateway Park (and its splash pad), and the paved walkaround at Volunteer Park.
“The tremendous growth was very dynamic and one of the people mainly responsible for this was Scott Gallacher,” Morris said. “He had a vision, he had a focus, he had an energy and a dedication that I think is also reflective of this board.”
Morris acknowledged the installation of a memorial bench bearing Gallacher’s name at Volunteer Park as well as a memorial plaque near the splash pad at Gateway Park, but said the group he came with felt there should be greater recognition for what Gallacher brought to the Key Peninsula.
“We’d like to recommend that you pass a motion to change the name from Gateway Park to the Scott Gallacher Gateway Park or Scott Gallacher 360 Park,” he said. “The bottom line is he couldn’t have done it without your support. And I don’t think you could have done it without him.”
Frank Dibiase said he recalled Home Park being a junkyard when he and his wife came to live here. “Our girls took advantage of baseball and t-ball out here. The district has grown and adds so much to the quality of life out here.”
Dibiase praised Gallacher’s ability to represent the need for recreation in his grant proposals to funders.
“It was clear to me that Scott was very much about the community, not just being a park or executive director there for an opportunity to network.”
Todd Rosenbach said, “I think he was the right person for the right time. He came into this organization with a ton of energy, as you all know, and could even be strident as a bull in a china shop. But it was that dynamism and energy that made him special, and it also made him really a Key Peninsulan.
“I think Scott brought a unique spirit that I think we all have. And it comes out at the best of times for all of us,” Rosenbach said. “I know it’s a tough thing to do — to name a park after one person — but I think it’s a really unique situation we have here.”
Commissioner Ed Robison said that when the naming policy was developed about 10 years ago, it was Gallacher who emphasized he did not want parks named for people but for geographic areas.
“But in our naming policy what we can do is name the facilities for individuals, so maybe the spray park itself,” Robison said. “We should go in the spirit of what Scott wanted.”
Reading the policy aloud, Commissioner Shawn Jensen said it stated that suggestions for names of any park or public facility solicited from the general public, individuals and organizations, from park personnel, or the board of commissioners, shall not be excluded from consideration.
Executive Director Tracey Perkosky told commissioners she thought her office would likely begin to encourage public input in the new year.
Phil Bauer said, “I always envisioned walking up the 360 to start up the hill with a couple of poles and a sign overhead that reads, ‘The 360 Trails in Honor of Scott Gallacher.’ ”
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