According to park officials, the large park that overlooks the Tacoma Dome was named McKinley Park in 1901 to honor the memory of the recently assassinated President William McKinley. Soon after, the area around the park became known as McKinley Hill. The City of Tacoma even changed the name of East H Street to McKinley Avenue in 1909. A couple of decades later, Metro Parks Tacoma purchased land on McKinley Avenue and the park currently known as McKinley Playfield, located at 4321 McKinley Ave. E., was created in 1928. Over the years, having two parks located so close to each other and both with McKinley in their names, has occasionally resulted in confusion.
Earlier this year, Metro Parks Tacoma received a request to change the name of one of the parks to end the confusion. Since the naming of McKinley Park, located at 907 Upper Park St., played a significant historic role in the naming of the McKinley Hill neighborhood which emerged around it, Metro Parks Tacoma has chosen to rename McKinley Playfield.
Elementary school students from three east side schools participated in a civic process to help find a new name for McKinley Playfield. The children were told about the history of both parks and had a kid-friendly discussion about the criteria that their suggestions needed to meet. After learning the history of the parks, they talked about what the park means to them, how they use the park and how the community uses it. Their conversations inspired suggestions which were presented to Metro Parks Tacoma and narrowed to five options. The children’s favorites include Eastside Community Park; Family Play Park; Friendship Park; Harmony Park; and Ida Park (Ida is the first name of the wife of President McKinley).
If you are interested in providing your own names for consideration, you are encouraged to attend the Eastside Neighborhood Council meeting on Mon., Nov. 18 at 6:30 pm in the Stewart Heights Pool meeting room, located at 402 E. 56th St., in Tacoma.
Nominations must reflect one or more of the following criteria:
- The site’s unique geography or geology;
- Historical events, persons or actions related to establishing the site;
- Influential persons who have made a substantial and lasting contribution related to the park or community;
- The site’s unique and sentimental appeal to its users;
- The site’s commonly used name based on its unique attributes.
If you have questions or would like to make an absentee nomination prior to the meeting, contact Roxanne Miles, Metro Parks Tacoma Community Engagement Manager, at (253) 305-1068 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information is available online here.