Thursday, February 22, 2007

Public Leadership Legacy

The creation of our two finest parks is really a legacy of visionary public leadership, still required to strengthen and provide endowed funding for one of them, the Parkway.

A legacy of open spaces
Without the foresight of some special citizens, treasures such as Land Park and the American River Parkway might not exist. A group is honoring their contributions.
By M.S. Enkoji - Bee Staff Writer
Published 12:00 am PST Thursday, February 22, 2007

Wealthy hotel owner William Land never saw the pastoral legacy he bequeathed to Sacramento.

He never took refuge on a sweltering summer day in the shade of a broad-branched tree, spread a picnic with his family or marveled at the exotic zoo collection, all in the heart of his burgeoning city.

Create a place for children to play, "a pleasure ground for the poor," he commanded when he left $250,000 to the city in 1911. Born from a swampy spread purchased with Land's donation a dozen years later, William Land Park is the city's crowning outdoor jewel, 167 acres forever preserved inside an urban milieu.

Land's vision and generosity, benefiting millions -- rich and poor -- will be honored by the California Park and Recreation Society, a nonprofit organization of professionals. He is one of the first to be inducted in the Recreation, Park, and Leisure Hall of Honor, created by the society's District II.

"That was an amazing donation at that time. His contribution is unbelievable," said Judy Quattrin of the society's District II.

The organization's largest district, encompassing 19 counties, hopes that recognizing philanthropy like Land's and professional achievements of people like William Pond, architect of the American River Parkway, will deepen the significance of parks and recreation and help them document individual contributions.