LYNNWOOD — History at Heritage Park in Lynnwood is getting a facelift after the city received a generous donation in early February.
The Lynnwood Parks and Recreation Foundation received $500,000 from the Elizabeth Ruth Wallace Living Trust to go toward building a playground and restoring the park’s water tower. The contribution also should pay for an “I love Lynnwood” sign, and a decal for a Lynnwood parks and recreation vehicle designed to look like the Interurban trolley at Heritage Park.
The same trust in March 2017 donated $3 million to the Everett Museum of History.
Construction for the Lynnwood projects has not been scheduled. The playground is projected to be finished by the end of 2018. The water tower may take until 2019.
The tower was moved to Heritage Park in 2003 from its original location on historic farmland. The donation will pay for renovation, starting with adding a water tank.
Heritage Park has had a playground in its master plan for more than a decade, although this is the first time the city has had enough money to build it, Parks and Recreation Foundation director Lynn Sordel said. This donation is the largest the foundation has ever received, he said.
“The donation of half a million dollars is impressive, as you can imagine,” Sordel said. “This amazing gift will allow us to achieve some important goals for our historic park, and will bring some really great enjoyment to our community.”
Elizabeth Ruth Wallace grew up in Alderwood Manor and graduated from Edmonds High School in 1942. She left Snohomish County to work as a civilian in the U.S. Army. Afterward, she moved to California where she married and made her home until her death in December 2016.
Wallace owned multiple properties in California, which she left to her niece and nephew, Cheri Ryan and Kevin Stadler, along with Ryan’s husband, Pat.
The properties were sold to create the trust, which has made donations to more than 30 organizations in Snohomish and King counties, Santa Clara County in California, and to some national nonprofits, Ryan said. Some donations were requested by Wallace before her death, she said.
Ryan, who lives in Bothell, and her family began distributing funds in September. She also grew up in Alderwood Manor, and remembers playing in the then-rural area with her cousins and siblings. These days, children living in Lynnwood may not have that opportunity, she said.
“When we grew up we had pasture in our back yard, and we had woods to play in,” Ryan said. “Kids can play pretty much anywhere, but a playground is just kind of special.”
Ryan serves on Lynnwood’s History and Heritage Board, and is the president of the Lynnwood-Alderwood Manor Heritage Association. She would like Heritage Park to continue telling the history of the city, she said.
The water tower is one of only two structures that remain from the Alderwood Manor Demonstration Farm, which closed in 1933. The other surviving building is the superintendent’s cottage, which is also in Heritage Park, Ryan said. While the city owns the water tower, the Lynnwood-Alderwood Manor Association owns and operates in the cottage, she said.
“You don’t know where you’re going until you know where you came from, and I think Lynnwood is a fast-growing city, and a lot of people don’t know that there is a very rich history,” Ryan said.
Stephanie Davey: 425-339-3192; firstname.lastname@example.org.