New name honors donor of property: Bainbridge city council renames Strawberry Plant Park after John Nelson

Jan Lund Buchanan of the John Nelson family shares Nelson
Jan Lund Buchanan of the John Nelson family shares Nelson's story with city council at Wednesday's meeting. City council approved the resolution to rename Strawberry Plant Park in honor of Nelson.
— image credit: Cecilia Garza | Bainbridge Island Review

The Bainbridge Island City Council decided Wednesday to approve the renaming of Strawberry Plant Park.

Community members petitioned for the park to be renamed John Nelson Park at Strawberry Cannery Cove.

In the 1950s, a property off  Highway 305 and Vineyard Lane was donated to the city by John Nelson, a shipyard worker and local resident, to be turned into a park.

It has taken 63 years for the wish to come true.

“John Nelson was a very humble man and he did not do this to make himself seem important,” said Jan Lund Buchanan of Nelson’s family. “He did this from the bottom of his heart.”

Buchanan explained that Nelson had lost his fiancee in Sweden. He came to the United States to escape his loss, but he never dated again nor did he have his own family. This park was his way to give back to the community and do something special for children.

Due to location constraints, his land donation was never developed.

Over the past nine years, however, the city, John Nelson’s heir Eric “Stan” Lund and community members have been working to establish Nelson’s wish.

In 2004, the city entered into an agreement with the Island Seniors Community and Lund to exchange the property on Vineyard Lane for Strawberry Plant property near Eagle Harbor, at the foot of Weaver Road.

In the agreement, a portion of the property donated by Nelson has been identified to be developed and named the “John Nelson Trail.”

Additionally, the Strawberry Plant property would become a public waterfront park.

The park was renamed at Wednesday’s council meeting to much applause.

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