Mayor Ed Murray has launched the process to rename International Children’s Park in Seattle’s Chinatown/International District after the beloved community activist Donnie Chin. The new name for the park will be Donnie Chin International Children’s Park.
“We are very pleased to be able to honor Donnie, a hero in the Chinatown/International District community and the entire City,” said Mayor Murray. “This park would not exist without Donnie’s advocacy. This is a fitting memorial for a man who dedicated his life to serving the children and residents of the neighborhood he loved.”
Longtime director of the International District Emergency Center, Donnie Chin was tragically killed in an early morning shooting on July 23, 2015.
The Mayor will send to the Seattle City Council a resolution seeking support to rename the park.“Through his compassion, persistence, energy and love, Donnie left a lasting legacy on the Chinatown/International District neighborhood,” said Council President Bruce Harrell (District 2). “We honor a hero and a man who has meant so much to our community.”
Located at 700 South Lane Street, International Children’s Park was originally built in 1981 and was substantially renovated and improved in 2012. Mr. Chin was instrumental in the creation of the park. When the Chinatown/International District community began to identify needed programs and neighborhood improvements in the mid-1970s, Mr. Chin brought up the need for a children’s park and he continued to champion the idea until the park was built.
“The Chinatown/International District Community commends Mayor Murray and the City Council for bringing forth the resolution to rename the International Children’s Park after Donnie Chin,” said Doug Chin, a board member of the Seattle Chapter of OCA Asian Pacific American Advocates and member of the Donnie Chin Children’s Park Naming Committee. “The Asian American community and many others overwhelmingly want the name change so that Donnie’s legacy as the founder of the park and the guardian who gave his life to helping others and making the community a safer place is preserved.”
Seattle Parks and Recreation Superintendent Jesús Aguirre will begin the process to rename the park, which includes consultation with the Board of Park Commissioners. The existing Parks policy that requires a person to be deceased for a minimum of three years before a park may be named in their honor will be suspended in this case.
“Donnie Chin is a true Seattle legend. I consider this action by city government to be a humble, yet fitting tribute to Mr. Chin’s decades of community service. Donnie’s spirit and generosity shaped a powerful legacy, particularly for the young Seattleites playing in this valued park,” said Parks, Seattle Center, Libraries, & Waterfront Committee chair Debora Juarez.