Redmond’s first Parks Director to talk about early years at Historical Society event

  • Wednesday, February 7, 2018 9:38am
  • Life
John Couch

John Couch

Ask locals what they treasure about Redmond, and you’re likely to hear parks and trails.But those recreational spaces didn’t just happen. Fifty years of planning have gone into them — starting on Jan. 1, 1968, when the city created a Parks and Recreation Department. Within a decade, 16 parks and more than 200 acres had been acquired for public benefit. By 2000, Redmond had 34 city parks and 25 miles of trail.

John Couch, Redmond’s first and longest-serving parks director (1968-2000), will look back on the department’s first decade at the upcoming Redmond Historical Society Speaker Series program, 10:30 a.m., Saturday Feb. 10 at the Old Redmond Schoolhouse Community Center, located at 16600 NE 80th Street.

The opening of the 520 bridge in 1963 meant a population boom would soon follow in Redmond. “People were antsy about losing their ‘vacant lot’ to developers, and there were few places for organized sports,” Couch recalls. “The vision was to ‘buy the land now’ before it was all gone. But there was a strong community push at the same time to ‘build us a park!’”

A Q&A will follow the presentation, with attendees encouraged to ask or comment about those early years.

There is a suggested $5 donation for non-members to attend.

The Redmond Historical Society is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization that receives support from the City of Redmond, 4 Culture, Nintendo, the Bellevue Collection, Happy Valley Grange, Microsoft and 501 Commons.