Vancouver residents asked to take a survey to vote for name of city’s newest park
The name will be announced soon enough, but the city of Vancouver just could not wait to show off its newest park.
For now, it’s the Park at 52nd Street. Soon, the name will honor Japanese American heritage and its history of farming in east Vancouver.
The park at 52nd Street and 137th Avenue opened to the public recently. And Thursday’s kickoff event was considered a soft opening. A grand opening will take place in the fall, when a name has been selected.
On Thursday, there were crafts, games, live music, and a place to cast your vote for the new name.
The park has a modern play structure with a prehistoric theme. Children can make friends with dinosaurs or dig for fossils.
There is an exercise area for adults.
A walking path. A half-court basketball set-up. And more than enough grassy spots to bring cornhole or croquet sets or just about any other yard game.
The park will also tell the story of the “Japanese American community that put down roots here only to experience a great injustice — their removal and incarceration during WWII,” according to a flyer put out by the city. There are three potential names for the park:
Nikkei Park: Nikkei is the term for Japanese emigrants and their descendents.
Nisei Park: Nisei is the term for second-generation Japanese Americans.
Nōchi Park: Nōchi is the Japanese word for farms. Japanese Americans were instrumental in farming areas of east Vancouver prior to World War II.
“This park gives Vancouver the chance to tell the story of a community who put down roots here only to be removed, displaced, and forgotten,” read a poster put up by the city at the park. “Help name this park to honor their story by taking our survey.”
For the survey, go to www.cityofvancouver.us/ParkName
“We really wanted to think about how we can use our parks to tell the story of Vancouver and to talk about the history of Vancouver,” said Melody Burton, marketing manager for the City of Vancouver.
Neighbors who attended Thursday’s event are grateful for the space to gather.
“I really like it. It’s really cool to have the dinosaur theme. It’s a really neat park,” Sarah Chumakov said.
“In the sandpit, there are skeletons. Kids can dig up and find,” noted 13-year-old Micsha Chuklanov.
It’s been a long time coming, as well.
“They’ve been saying they were going to be building a park since we moved in five years ago, and finally,” Chumakov said. “Definitely really happy about this park. My kids are always here now.”