New Hamilton park to be named in honor of man who is leading its development

Steve Timmer is the former executive director of Hamilton Parks Conservancy and has stayed on as a project manager. Mayor Pat Moeller on Wednesday, April 27, 2022, presented him with a key to the city, and the conservancy board announced a park project he's been working to develop on Gordon Smith Boulevard will be named for him. NICK GRAHAM/FILE

caption arrowCaption
Steve Timmer is the former executive director of Hamilton Parks Conservancy and has stayed on as a project manager. Mayor Pat Moeller on Wednesday, April 27, 2022, presented him with a key to the city, and the conservancy board announced a park project he's been working to develop on Gordon Smith Boulevard will be named for him. NICK GRAHAM/FILE

Steve Timmer also recognized with key to city

Hamilton’s 2014 Citizen of the Year was taken aback by City Council and the Hamilton Parks Conservancy he led from its inception until earlier this year.

Steve Timmer, who stayed on with the conservancy as a project manager, was at City Council’s regular meeting Wednesday presenting a park project he had been championing. Then, Mayor Pat Moeller, Councilmember Carla Fiehrer and Hamilton Parks Conservancy board President James Fitton approached Timmer.

Fiehrer and Fitton said the honor they were about to bestow upon Timmer was not only a unanimous decision, but a fitting one.

“We’ve given this a lot of thought and we’ve talked to a lot of people,” said Fiehrer, who is also on the Hamilton Parks Conservancy board. “We would like to name this park after you. You have put so much into it, we just think it’s just so worthy of you.”

Fitton said the honor “just makes sense.”

“The reality of this, Steve, you’ve been looking at this location, you’ve been informing the board of this location for years, and it’s the right place and it’s the right time,” he said. “It’s just a way to show our gratitude.”

One of Timmer’s missions since being with the Hamilton Parks Conservancy has been to have a park within a 10-minute walk of everyone in Hamilton, a national standard. Through his efforts, 74% of Hamilton residents are now within that 10-minute walk to a park after the city installed Jefferson Park a few years ago. Until Jefferson Park was created, he called the area of the Fourth Ward “a park desert.”

Timmer had also been working to eliminate another park desert, this time in northern Hamilton, saying “Gordon Smith Boulevard was another area that was blocked as an area needing a park.”

He knew the property owners, Ed and Judy Shelton, and they agreed to donate the land to the city. This area of Gordon Smith Boulevard has several multi-family condos, and Timmer said the backs of the buildings are concrete slabs for parking or garbage dumpsters.

“There’s a lot of small children on Gordon Smith Boulevard, and the backyards are actually parking lots, dumpster pads, so they really don’t have any place to play,” he said. “This is not a huge area, it would be a small park.”

Developing this vacant property at 716 Gordon Smith Blvd. would be between a $260,000 and $280,000 project, and the parks district plans to write a grant request to the Greater Hamilton Community Foundation to assist in constructing the low-maintenance park designed for kids 12 and younger on the parcel that is roughly a third of an acre.

Fiehrer and Fitton’s announcement of naming this park after Timmer took him by surprise, causing him to well up with shock and pride. Moeller added one more honor, which only caused Timmer’s face to redden with gratitude even darker with a one-of-a-kind key to the city. The mayor said there was “some special language” added to the key-mounted plaque “because I think it truly does fit.”

The key was not only presented by City Council but also the citizens of Hamilton.

“I think it’s an important distinction from other keys because this is from all of us who have seen what you’ve with the parks system,” said Moeller. “Oh, by the way, you were a firefighter, you served on the (Greater Hamilton) Community Foundation board, and all the things that you’ve done.”

Moeller light-heartedly added that his work isn’t finished: “This doesn’t mean you stop right now, but this is just a key so you keep going.”

About the Author