Council votes to name park for Ray Eames; construction likely in spring

A half-acre park honoring former Curtis Park resident Ray Eames may start to take shape in the spring.

On Sept. 24, City Council unanimously approved the recommendation of the city’s parks commission to name the park in Crocker Village for the internationally famous designer.

Councilmember Jay Schenirer abstained from the vote. He left the chambers during the discussion of the park name.

Eight people spoke to the council about the park name, seven in favor of naming the park for Ray Eames, including two of her grandchildren.

SCNA board member John Mathews referred to parks commission Chairman Joe Flores’ comment at the Aug. 1 commission meeting that 42 city parks are named for men, but only seven for women. More city parks are named for trees than for women, Mathews said, urging that the disparity be remedied.

blueprint plan for eames park

The lone speaker who didn’t endorse the Eames name was John Cox, who said he represented Petrovich Development Co. Cox asked City Council for a continuance because the company had just learned that afternoon of the pending vote and company president Paul Petrovich and his family were unable to attend. Petrovich had proposed that the park be named Petrovich Family Park.

One speaker, Allen Folks, suggested a compromise – name the park for Ray Eames but place a plaque or statue in it in honor of the Petrovich family’s contribution to Crocker Village.

City Councilmember Angelique Ashby wasn’t in the mood for compromise. “A guy already stood in the spotlight and cast her in a shadow,” Ashby said, referring to Eames’ husband, Charles. “I’d hate to see another man cast her in the shadows. I would rather see her own her space – and own it outright.” The city’s plans call for a roughly triangle-shaped park at the northwest corner of

Crocker Village, bordered on the west by the Union Pacific Railroad sound wall, on the south and east by a new pedestrian path and neighborhood street, and on the north by the curve from Donner Way into 21st Street.

City planning and development manager Raymond Costantino says the next step is for the city to negotiate a “turnkey agreement” with Petrovich Development Co., which will build the park and then turn it over to the city.

The city’s master plan shows a shaded area with picnic tables and barbecue in the center of the park, a play area for young children, a zipline and park benches, with shade trees and shrubbery at the periphery.

Eames and her husband were internationally famous designers, perhaps most notably of the Eames Lounge Chair, which was released by the Herman Miller furniture company in 1956. The chair has been in continuous production since then, selling today with ottoman for $5,295 and up. An Eames Lounge Chair is in the permanent collection of New York’s Museum of Modern Art as an example of Mid-Century Modern design.

Ray Eames grew up in Curtis Park and attended Highland Park School, Sierra Elementary School, Sacramento High School and Sacramento Junior College.

The site of the new park is partially visible from the family’s former home at 2115 Portola Way.

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