Everett City Councilman Jeff Moore said his son was delivered by Dr. Arthur Grossman.
Scott Bader, the City Council’s vice president, said the longtime Everett doctor once coached his son on a youth soccer team.
“I have the highest respect for Dr. Grossman,” Moore said at Wednesday’s council meeting.
Despite those accolades, the council plans to take its time naming a new city park — possibly in Grossman’s honor.
Arthur Saul Grossman, a retired family practice doctor and obstetrician who taught fitness classes at the Everett Family YMCA, died Dec. 21 at 71. He suffered from ALS, the condition commonly called Lou Gehrig’s disease.
Wednesday’s meeting agenda suggested the city was close to naming its future park in memory of the Everett doctor. Earlier this year, the city asked the public for suggestions in naming what will be the Glacier View neighborhood’s first park. The 1.2-acre site is just south of a new YMCA being built at 4730 Colby Ave.
The Herald reported last month that of about 140 suggested names — “Parky McParkface,” really? — the city’s Historical Commission had picked three notable people: Along with Grossman, the commission’s recommendations to the council were David Dilgard, a highly regarded Everett Public Library historian who died in May, and Emma Yule, Everett’s first teacher when Broadway School opened in 1891.
With 33 mentions, Grossman’s name was suggested most. Everett’s board of park commissioners met July 10 and recommended “Art Grossman Memorial Park” to the Historical Commission.
Grossman, an avid bicyclist, had served on the city’s parks board.
On the council briefing agenda for Wednesday was this: “Adopt resolution naming the proposed park adjacent to the YMCA located at 4730 Colby Avenue ‘Arthur Grossman Memorial Park,’” with action and a public hearing scheduled for a later date.
Discussion Wednesday showed the council isn’t ready to commit to that name. Members raised issues of geography, and of qualifications for a person’s name to be used for a park.
“How many folks in south Everett would know where Clark Park is?” said Councilman Scott Murphy, adding that park naming opportunities come up rarely.
For that matter, how many folks know who Clark was?
“The History of Everett Parks” was published in 1989, when Grossman was on the parks board. According to the book by Allan May and Dale Preboski, it was 1894 when the year-old city bought the block from 24th to 25th streets between Oakes Avenue and Lombard for what was first called City Park.
In 1931, it was renamed Clark Park after John J. Clark. An investor, he had come to Everett from Wisconsin in 1892.
Also concerned with geographical identity, Bader suggested the possibility of a “hybrid name” that could recognize a person and a place.
City Councilwoman Brenda Stonecipher wondered whether Grossman had historical ties to the park location. Certainly of significance is Grossman’s history with the YMCA, which will be the park’s next-door neighbor.
For years, Grossman taught cycling and other classes at the Y, keeping his spirits and activity up even as his illness progressed. “He’s been the biggest inspiration,” Gael Gebow, senior program director at the Everett Y, said after Grossman died.
The naming of Everett’s Drew Nielsen Neighborhood Park, at 13th Street and Colby Avenue, is one example of a park being named in recent years for someone prominent. An Everett City Council member, Nielsen died while whitewater rafting in 2012.
A person’s name isn’t the only way to mark history. A man with a long memory recalled, in an online comment on a Herald article, that the Sunset Little League once played where the new park will be. He suggested the name “Sunset Park.”
The City Council has more talking to do. Because the name will last into perpetuity, it “warrants a broader conversation,” Moore said.
That the choice is hard shows the caliber of those on the list, people who spent their lives creating this place.
The losses of Grossman, Dilgard and Helen Jackson are reminders that a community’s history is always being written.
Julie Muhlstein: 425-339-3460; firstname.lastname@example.org.