LAKE SARANAC — The park formerly known as Ampersand Park has been renamed the “Ken Garwood POW Park” after the village council voted unanimously to change the name on Monday.
The man who requested the name change, village resident Justin Garwood, is Ken’s grandson. Justin said last year when he asked the village to help him fix the basketball courts in the park where he grew up “pass the rock” with students, he learned that a family story was true.
Ken Garwood was a village administrator in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, and in 1968 convinced the village to buy the land at the corner of Broadway and Ampersand Avenue and turn it into a public park. The legal documents for the sale at the time refer to the land as Boyer-Garwood Park but the park was never officially marked with Garwood’s name.
Justin said he wanted the park’s name to also reflect his grandfather’s military service.
“If he were alive today he probably wouldn’t want me to do this, which is why it’s important to me that it’s…Ken Garwood POW Park,” Justin said.
The village mayor, Jimmy Williams, had previously said he thought with the park directly across from the veterans club, it would be appropriate to honor POWs there.
Justin said his grandfather served his country fighting in the Army Air Corps during World War II.
He was shot down twice – once on his first mission in a B-17 bomber, where his plane crashed into the English Channel and he was rescued from the waters, and another time when he became a prisoner of war in Germany for almost 18 months.
At a public hearing on the name change on Monday, village development board chairman Allie Pelletieri said he thought the name was appropriate, but he asked the village to take its time naming the names. things in the future.
“All I’m asking is that when you name things after people, we really consider who they are and what they’ve done,” Pelletieri said. “In this village, we are really lucky to have a whole host of past and present members of the community who do so much for the community.”
After the board’s unanimous vote, there was applause and Williams hugged Justin and Lisa Lionidas, Ken’s daughter. Lionidas was glad the village had renamed the park in honor of her father.
“He is a truly deserving man” she says.
“Happy to finally pay tribute to the man whose idea it was and who gave so much to this country and to the city”, Justin wrote in a message to the company. “Thank you to the mayor, the board and the public for their support.”
To learn more about the park and the life of Ken Garwood, go to https://bit.ly/3QhawBv.