Naming committee offers four suggestions for moniker of new park

A committee formed to find a name for the former Unocal property after it is turned into a gateway park has come up with three suggestions for the new public gathering place.

The possible names: Winslow Waypoint, Bainbridge Landing and Gateway Corner.

Committee members met last week and kicked around numerous names for the gateway attraction, which will be developed at the site of a former gas station on Winslow Way near the entrance to the ferry terminal.

Perry Barrett, a planner for the parks district and a member of the naming committee, said committee members were also excited about a suggestion that came up after the meeting: The Community Cornerstone.

Members of the naming committee have said the moniker could be added as a fourth name for consideration by the parks board.

At last Thursday's meeting, the committee pared down a long list of suggested names, many of which came from the Let's Build a Park website that was set up during earlier planning for the Unocal property.

The committee members — Kim Gawlik, Jill Johnson, Tom Lindsley,  Mike Mejia and Barrett — struggled with good humor to come up with a narrowed list of possible names to present to park commissioners. Commissioners are expected to pick the final name at their meeting later this week.

The list of suggestions included Winslow Passage, Cornerstone Park, Inspiration Park, Ferry Landing, and Junkoh Junction, Junkoh's Corner and Harui Park, in honor of Junkoh Harui and his Bainbridge Gardens. Park officials, however, said his family was honored by the suggestion but did not wish to see the new attraction named after Harui, who passed away in 2008.

Early in last week's discussion, the word "garden" was put on the no-go list.

"I think calling it a garden is too narrow," said Lindsley, noting that the name would draw attention to one of the minor pieces of the park proposal, instead of other aspects such as the historical signs or way-finding markers in the project.

"You're suggesting that the garden is the most important part, not the history or other things going on," he said.

Gawlik said it was like seeing a street sign for something like "Stallion Way" as a child and getting your hopes up.

"And you thought there were going to be stallions if we drove down that street, and were so incredibly disappointed to find out somebody just named it that because that was a cool name," she said.

"I kind of feel that way about the garden bit. I think it's a little bit of false advertising," Gawlik said. "It's going to be pretty, but it's not like you are going to Bloedel."

"It brings to mind, to me, more than what I'm going to get," she said.

Other parts of possible names were also shot down, such as the word "junction."

Gawlik said it made her think of the old television program, "Petticoat Junction."

Gawlik also said the word "waypoint," a common nautical term, was her favorite and could be included in one of the final names.

Donna Moore, the only member in the audience at Thursday's meeting, offered several suggestions that included the word "peace."

"I was part of the Women in Black who stood on that corner for seven years," she told the committee.

"We liked the idea of having 'peace' in the name. Peace Park, Peace Walk," Moore said, or maybe even Olive Branch Peace Trail.

"And if you didn't like the idea of peace, then you could plant some olive trees ... and have the theme of peace being woven into the park somehow," she said.

The committee, however, said it was given specific boundaries to use to find possible names, and the criteria included names that would be known and significant to Bainbridge Islanders, or have historical, geographical, cultural or community significance.

Committee members then trimmed other possibilities from the list, such as "passage" and "portal."

"Portal sounds a little Star Warsy," Moore agreed.

One thing to think about, Moore said, was the park's proximity to the ferry terminal. That makes it a prime spot for people to meet those coming to the island or leaving.

That was a good thing, because the Bainbridge Island community is one that likes to congregate, she said, and recalled Chicago's famed gathering place.

"It's kind of the Hyde Park of Bainbridge Island," Moore said.

Perry then suggested a pedestal could be fashioned in the shape of a soap box and put in the park.

The idea was a big hit, eclipsed only by Moore's suggestion later in the meeting for a sort of "Waiting for the Interurban" sculpture that could be placed in the park.

Like the beloved Richard Beyer sculpture in Seattle's Fremont neighborhood, which depicts a group of people waiting for public transportation, Moore said the Bainbridge sculpture could show a group of windswept folks rushing to catch the ferry.

"Running for the ferry, everybody's done that," Moore said.

"With briefcases flying, it could be so fun," she said.

Committee members quickly offered their own additions.

"A child in tow that you're hauling along," Johnson added.

As others chimed in with enthusiasm for the idea, Gawlik encouraged Moore to contact the group that would be talking about public art for the park.

"Not that we don't want you here, but you're at the wrong meeting," Gawlik laughed.

Turning back to the business of naming the park, the group selected its top three choices.

Park commissioners will make the final decision at their meeting this week. The board meets at 6 p.m. Thursday, June 21 at Strawberry Hill Center.



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