Theater District stakeholders will hold a public event Sat., Aug. 14 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. to celebrate the dedication of Ben Gilbert Park and its historic tile mural. The project is a collaboration of neighborhood residents, businesses, the City of Tacoma, Tacoma Water, Dickson Construction and the Ben Gilbert Family. The park is named after the late editor and historic preservationist Ben Gilbert. Gilbert died at age 89 on Feb. 28, 2007, at Hospice House in Tacoma. He had battled breast cancer, which spread to his lungs. According to an obituary published March 1, 2007, in The Washington Post, Gilbert worked at the Post for 30 years. In addition to being “a tough and exacting” city editor, he was also deputy managing editor and associate editor of the editorial page. The obituary notes Gilbert “pushed to expand the newspaper’s coverage of race relations, and in 1968 he helped direct coverage of riots in the city after the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in Memphis.” Gilbert also served on Tacoma’s Landmarks Preservation Commission and was an advocate for the hard-of-hearing. On Oct. 28, 2009, the City of Tacoma’s Landmarks Preservation Commission approved a recommendation to name the park, where the mural is installed, after Gilbert. On Nov. 24, Tacoma City Council approved the recommendation and the park was officially named in Gilbert’s honor. The park is located just north of City Hall (747 Market St.). For more information, visit http://www.tacomahistory.org/SpecialProjects/Ben_Gilbert_Park.html .
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