Tumwater City Council approved to name a new neighborhood park at The Preserve as “Kindred Park” on Tuesday, April 4, in a 4-3 split decision.
Parks and Recreation Director Chuck Denney explained to the city council that the proposed name of the park was recommended by the Parks and Recreation Commission (PARC).
The name refers to pioneers David and Talitha Kindred. According to Denney, the Kindred family financed the wagon train that came from Missouri to Tumwater during the 1840s and also helped in the construction of the gristmill in Tumwater Falls.
A list of suggestions made by residents and reviewed by PARC states that “kindred” could also allude to kindred friendships that may foster within the new park.
Before the name was approved, there was a rejected motion by Councilmember Joan Cathey to postpone the decision of naming the park and return the issue to PARC with the council’s own recommendations. Cathey said that the proposed name did not represent the neighborhood and that not many people know about the Kindred family.
“Geographically, where is? It's on the prairie,” Cathey said. “We've been talking about what we want to do in terms of caring for the prairie, and out of the blue, we put up a name that probably six people in Tumwater know.”
Cathey recalled that other suggestions made by the public were “Preservation Park” and other similar names relating to preservation.
Councilmember Leatta Dahlhoff disagreed with Cathey, saying that naming the park after the Kindred family could be a learning opportunity, especially with the help of educational signages. Dahlhoff noted that not a lot of people knew about Eva G. Hewitt before the Tumwater Post Office was named in honor of her last year.
Councilmember Eileen Swarthout expressed that naming a park after a pioneer family was appropriate. Councilmember Michael Althauser said he deferred to PARC’s recommendation, especially since he found no reason to disqualify the name “Kindred Park” from a policy standpoint.
Councilmember Peter Agabi also voted in favor of the proposed name.
Councilmembers Charlie Schneider and Angela Jefferson opposed the proposed name, wanting to name the park in honor of indigenous people instead.
Dahlhoff expressed caution about this idea, believing it would be performative and that they would have to consult the tribes if they wanted to do this.
“If we're going to have that conversation and that's the direction we want to go, that's going to take some time and there will be no name for this park,” Dahlhoff said.
During the start of the discussion, Denney had said that they anticipate completing the park by May 1.
Schneider responded to Dahlhoff’s concern by saying that he found no issue consulting with the tribes and taking more time to decide on the name of the park to ensure that they do the process correctly.
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