Opinion

EDITORIAL Dec. 26, 2001

The Oak Harbor City Council did the right thing last week in declining to change the name of Flintstone Park to honor the late city councilman, Rex Hankins.

The decision should not be interpreted as anything negative toward Mr. Hankins. As a city council member, he worked hard to improve the city’s parks and played a major role in saving Flintstone Park when a developer proposed to swap other land for the park land. Hankins not only helped stop that deal, but he was instrumental in making sure that no such deals can be made in the future without a vote of the people.

The reason Flintstone Park should not be renamed is simply a matter of history. The name apparently originated decades ago when waterfront development brought in huge boulders as fill, and that reminded folks of cartoon character Fred Flintstone’s home town of Bedrock. The road became known as the Flintstone Freeway, and the small public area as Flintstone Park. A replica of Fred Flintstone’s leg-powered automobile sits in the park and attracts young children on sunny days. It’s an amusing piece of Oak Harbor’s history and thousands of Oak Harbor residents have fond memories of the park and its unique name. It’s a bit of history worth retaining for future generations to talk about and enjoy.

The council majority had a better proposal than renaming an existing park for Mr. Hankins. The suggestion is to name a walking trail in his honor. That sounds like a great idea. Mr. Hankins was known as an avid walker, and a trail with perhaps a memorial bench or two along the way would be a fitting tribute to the man’s legacy. Some day, if all goes well, citizens may be able to walk the Hankins Trail to Flintstone Park. Then we’ll have two pieces of positive history to remember.

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