It was named after White, who lived kitty-corner from the
park and was instrumental in keeping the play area safe for children
in the community.
White was a 20-year employee of the city of
Lincoln. He served as superintendent of the street and alley
department until the mid-1980s, according to Tracy Jackson, the
White was Donnie Osborne's predecessor and mentor in the city
department. When White left the position, Osborne took his place and
served as the superintendent until 2003, when the torch was passed
Ray White Park started out as an empty lot where children played.
With the efforts of White and others in the community, the city
declared it a park and added playground equipment to the area.
While the city became responsible for the park, it was White and
others in the community who kept an eye on things.
Last Thursday afternoon, on White's 91st birthday, several folks
gathered at the park for the dedication of a new sign. The old one
had fallen into ill repair and had become more of an eyesore than an
Jackson said the new sign had been created with virtually no
money involved. The street department had used brick and other
materials they had on hand; the artwork had been provided by Peasley
Memorials; and the sign had been erected by city crews.
At the unveiling, Jackson spoke briefly, explaining how the sign
had been built, then talked for a moment about White.
Also on hand at the unveiling was White's widow; Pauline. She
still lives kitty-corner from the park and said she had taken her
husband's place in keeping an eye on the park and shouting out when
she sees kids misbehaving.
Paula Schaub, White's daughter, has also taken an interest in the
park, along with several others from community who keep an eye on
children playing and also volunteer time to help the city keep trash
picked up in the park.
Schaub said the park is a very popular place. Several children
live in the area, and after school and on weekends, the park is
filled with children and their parents.
"This park was my dad's dream," Schaub said. "He loved kids. He
would sit out in his chair and watch the kids play."
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Mayor Keith Snyder was on hand Thursday, along with Alderwomen
Kathy Horn and Jonie Tibbs, Alderman David Armbrust, Kathy Vinyard
of the From the Ground Up group, Marsha Greenslate and Roy Logan of
the Lincoln Park District, and several other members of the
Snyder said: "I've told a lot of people over the years Ray White
was one of the best bosses I ever had. I worked for him for four
summers. He was a great, great guy. For us college kids who worked
in the summer, he was great. When we didn't do something right, we
learned about it, but when we did stuff OK, he was right there to
tell us we'd done well. I'm happy that this park commemorates a
great guy and his service to the community."
The From the Ground Up group has also been involved in trying to
keep the park nice for the community. Ray White Park is one of the
"Plant it in the Park" projects for the group. Vinyard
said they cut out the flower beds around the sign location, used
plants donated by the horticulture department at Logan Correctional
Center and worked with Schaub and other members of the community to
get the planting all done.
During the ceremony, Schaub said the park had playground
equipment but could use a little more. Jackson told the gathering
that the mayor and city council have hopes of doing improvement
projects on this park as well as others in the future, but it is all
contingent on the city having the money available to do the work,
which at the moment they don't.
But, for the time being, the sign is a nice addition to the park,
and a suitable memorial to someone who cared very much about the
park and the children who played there.
[By NILA SMITH]