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Davis

Davis, California

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Davis pays homage to former mayor Partansky

The memory of former Davis Mayor Julie Partansky will persist through a community park.

On Oct. 15, the Davis Recreation and Park Commission reviewed the proposal to rename Northstar Park and ponds as tribute to Partansky, who passed away in January. The commission also considered renovating a picnic area decorated with mosaics and creating “Julie’s Garden.”

Julie Partansky was an active member of the community and made notable contributions to Davis. She was a member of the Davis City Council from 1992 to 2002 and mayor from 1998 to 2000.

Partansky proposed the Night Sky Ordinance to decrease light pollution. She led the effort to build the toad tunnel under Pole Line Road to allow frogs to safely pass underneath the road and reach the Core Area Pond. She also advocated planting more fruit trees in Davis with the aim of feeding homeless people.

Councilmember Lamar Heystek requested that Northstar Park and ponds be renamed in honor of Partansky.

“Northstar Park was a significant place for her,” Heystek said. “She used to go to the ponds and collect garbage. She cared deeply about the park and ponds. It is important to honor her because she made significant contributions.”

Parks Supervisor Sandy Dietrich explained the fiscal impact of renaming the park and ponds and creating Julie’s Garden.

It would cost $500 to $3,500 to change signage at the park, city maps and bike routes. Currently, the Recreation and Park Commission does not have enough money for the sign changes, but changes can be made over time, Dietrich said.

The price range for making signs for the ponds is $100 to $500 depending on the size and materials used.

Julie’s Garden will be funded by private fundraisers to maintain cleanliness and the benches. Volunteers will take care of native, drought tolerant plants for 10 years.

Samantha McCarthy, a good friend of Partansky’s, proposed Julie’s Garden. The garden will be integrated into an existing picnic area that overlooks the north area drainage pond.

There will be tile mosaics of stars, plants, animals, question marks and words that are symbolic of Julie’s spirit and were created by Julie and local artists, McCarthy said.

“The garden is not a memorial; it is a tribute garden that can enhance the community,” McCarthy said.

Currently, Northstar Park has a memorial bench in honor of Partansky on the main viewing platform of the North Area Pond.

David Kalb, a resident who lives near Northstar Park, supports naming the ponds after Partansky and creating the garden but opposes renaming the entire park.

“People identify with the name of the park,” Kalb said.

He received notification on Oct. 9 that Northstar Park may be renamed and collected 44 signatures of residents who oppose the renaming of the entire park.

The Recreation and Parks Commission agreed with Vice Chair Susan Sabatier’s proposal of approving Julie’s Garden and to name the north drainage pond and surrounding area the “Julie Partansky Wildlife Area,” but not to rename the entire park.

“I think Julie is pleased and honored,” McCarthy said.

The proposed name “Julie Partansky Wildlife Area” and plans for Julie’s Garden will go to the city council for approval. Heystek believes the council will agree to honor Partansky by naming the park after her.

“I hope to build upon the commission recommendation and see if we can name the whole park after her,” Heystek said.

HELEN TREJO can be reached at city@theaggie.org.

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