What makes it stand out
The McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park is a part of the city’s parks and recreation department with Nick Molinari, operations supervisor, in charge of the park. However, the park has its own maintenance crew that ensures the grounds are maintained and three railroad technicians who are trained to maintain the trains.
“We get a lot of support from the community and they feel like they have the best park in the country,” Grimes emphasized. It has become a family tradition, with residents and visitors bringing their children to the park. “The park has a long-standing history that other railroad parks don’t have,” he continued.
“One thing that stands out the most from other parks in general is how clean and green the park is,” he said. Having its own crew, the park is able to keep both the grounds and the trains well maintained compared with other parks in the valley. For example, the two steam locomotives, one from the ’50s and the other from the ’80s, are both still functioning.
“We feel that keeping a green and clean park lends to part of the experience you will get when you come to the park,” Grimes proceeded. “It adds to the vibes of the park when you have flowers and green grass and trees all year-round. We pride ourselves on keeping the park clean and people notice it and they do their part to keep the park clean as well.”
The ELGL Knope award recognizes the top places in local government. In 2019, the park focused on the best parks and open spaces and awaited the nominations. “Our assistant city manager Brent Stockwell nominated us for this contest and we made the cut out of 32,” Grimes said. “Brent felt that the park was worthy of national recognition and that we could hold our own up against some of the top parks in the country.”
The top 32 nominations are put up against one another in a bracket-style challenge until the final winner is chosen. “Part of the contest to win the award came from votes from the community. We had a lot of support from the community,” Grimes said. “People love this park and they wanted to show their support to help us win this award. All of the credit goes to the community for winning this award.”