City Administrator Matt Mardesen said discussions have been taking place between the city, members of the Hattery family and members of the Nevada Historical Society about the naming of the park in the north part of Nevada. The Nevada Historical Society has been pushing for the park to have the name Walker Park, while the Hattery Family wants it to stay Hattery Park, Mardesen explained.
To understand the issue, the Nevada Journal turns back to a story in the May 19, 2005, issue of the newspaper. It was reported then that the Nevada Historical Society was trying to follow the last will and testament of Julia Walker, one of the town’s earliest residents, whose will set aside money to buy the land for the park, located between Fifth and Sixth streets and R and Q avenues. Walker had asked that the park be named after her family.
The park was commonly referred to for many years as “north park,” according to Dorian Myhre, one of the historical society’s longtime members, who was interviewed for the 2005 story. Calling it “north park” distinguished it from another park, previously located near the hospital’s senior care building, that was called “south park.”
In the 1980s, the city decided to formally name the “north park” after John R. Hattery, a prominent Nevada resident who had been Story County Sheriff for five years and then became the first chief of the Iowa Highway Patrol. Hattery also served on Nevada’s Parks Board for over 30 years, beginning in 1945. In the 1980s, to honor Hattery’s service, the park officially became Hattery Park.
Back in 2005, the Nevada Parks and Recreation Department offered a compromise of leaving the name of the park as Hattery Park and creating a plaque that would honor Walker’s donation of the land that would be placed in the park. Rhonda Maier, who was then and is still assistant director of Parks and Rec in Nevada, said the oversight of the city was an honest mistake in the 1980s, which stemmed from people calling the park “north park” for many years.
At that time, the Historical Society was not happy with the compromise. Myhre was quoted, “We just thought a big rock with a plaque on it just wasn’t going to fulfill what was in (Walker’s) will.
So, the debate has continued into the present day, as Historical Society members have been waiting for Parks and Recreation to erect a sign that pays tribute to the park’s original benefactor, Julia Walker.
Mardesen said the only thing to determine now is what the park will be called. He said Historical Society members want it to be called Walker-Hattery Park and understandably the Hattery family wants it to be called Hattery-Walker Park.
Mardesen shared that he is hopeful both sides, along with the city, will come to an agreement or decision soon so that new signs for the park can be ordered.
In other business:
• Ric Martinez, director of Nevada Public Safety, said the department has begun receiving fireworks complaints, and officers are out there trying to confront offenders, since the city does not allow fireworks to be set off until the three days prior to the Fourth and on the Fourth. Martinez said, however, it is difficult to catch offenders. “We have to actually see them set off fireworks,” he said, in order to cite them. Or, he said, residents must sign a complaint for them to cite offenders, and most people are unwilling to do that.
A reminder of fireworks discharging in Nevada: Fireworks may legally be discharged in the city limits July 1, 2 and 3 from 6-10 p.m. and on July 4 from noon to 11 p.m.
• The statewide Narcan Access Day — Friday, June 29 — was discussed. The Iowa Department of Public Heath (IDPH), Iowa Board of Pharmacy, and the Iowa Pharmacy Association are sponsoring this event.
Naloxone (know commercially as Narcan) is a prescription medication given to temporarily reverse an opioid overdose. Though not a cure, it does buy time until emergency medical treatment can be made available.
The Free Narcan Access Day is designed to equip Iowans most at risk for encountering or experiencing an opioid overdose. Persons can pick up the free Narcan after completing a brief questionnaire and receiving instructions from a pharmacist on Friday, June 29.
NuCara pharmacies in Nevada, Story City and Zearing, as well as other pharmacies in Ames, are participating in Friday’s giveaway.
Watch for more news from this City Council meeting in next week’s Nevada Journal.