Dawson City has a new park. Located between the Dawson Plaza (where the CIBC is) and the Husky Bus HQ (the former Hair We Are salon) it’s not a large space, but it’s a pleasant spot along Dawson’s second busiest commercial street, Second Avenue.
It’s the latest project of the Klondike Centennials Society, which did most of its public works leading up to the centennial years and on to 2002, which celebrated the year Dawson got its town charter.
Just to mention a few projects, there was the Tribute to the Miner statue along the Waterfront, the Ridge Road Trail, the rehabilitation and enhancement of the Discovery Claim and the beautification of City Hall park. That short list only scratches the surface of what KCS has accomplished.
The park is a tribute. “We wanted one that basically would thank all our volunteers and all our staff over all those years,” said Jon Magnusson, “especially John and Madeleine Gould and also Kelly Millar, who was a mainstay in our operation.”
Magnusson manages the plaza building for its American owner, a former member of the RCMP who prefers just to be known as Mo. Magnusson persuaded him to buy the lot next to his building, partly to provide parking off the lane in the rear for people using the building. Then he pitched the idea of a park on the front half of the lot.
After beginning the process with the blessing of his board, he went to see Gould’s daughter, Susan Herrmann, to see how she felt about a project being done to honour he parents.
She was so enthusiastic that she bought the park half of the lot and has, he says, been of immense help in getting the thing done.
The design was created by Mike Crelli, who does a lot of landscaping in town. There are inset glass mosaic decorative tiles made by Tiss Clark, as well as an old-fashioned tri-light street lamp.
At present there are some plants, benches, lawn chairs and an outdoor table that Magnusson has donated from winding down his business at Dawson City Bed and Breakfast a couple of years back, but there are plans to get more substantial new ones made.
Later on there will be a plaque thanking the Goulds and Millar by name, as well as a general thank you to the many other people who contributed over the years.
Of great disappointment to Magnusson and to a lot of people who commented on Facebook on July 20, was the damage done to the park the night before, when vandals broke the lamp and did some other damage to the adjoining property.
It has since been repaired. “We’ve got good comments back so far,” Magnusson says. “The dike area improvements are great, but there’s no shade there. This is a little park where people can sit and be shaded from the heat.”
His only personal complaint so far is that people keep tossing cigarette butts onto the ground, even though there are two disposal stations beside the benches.