After a letter from Nicholas Steckler was read to the Sunnyside City Council at last night’s meeting, the council unanimously approved naming the newest city park after Christina Knoth.
Reading the letter for Steckler was his mother, Cristina Klatovsky, who said she had alerted her son to the discussion about what to name the park that he originally proposed. Also present at the meeting were two daughters of Knoth and other members of her family.
The park, at the corner of Homer and First streets, needed to be named in order for the city to use real estate excise tax funding to finish the project.
The park was originally suggested by Steckler and was his high school senior project. He wrote to the council to express his support for naming the park after Knoth.
“You may or may not know that Tina, as I knew her, was also a part of my life for as long as I can remember,” he wrote. “(She) always wanted to know the details of what I was up to, how I was doing and followed my projects – including this one – with great interest and support.
“I wanted to congratulate you on the decision and express my full support in the selection of her name for the park. Tina would be very happy.”
The letter caused a few people to wipe their eyes. When Councilman Spencer Martin, chair of the subcommittee on community development, brought up the naming of the park later in the meeting, he told the council that the committee and members of the board of parks and recreation had narrowed the selection to three names. However, the committee recommended naming the park after Christina Knoth.
“That was, dare I say, a unanimous decision among the crew that was in there,” Martin said. “The runners up were Heroes Park and Vista Del Sol.”
After the council approved the choice, Knoth’s daughter Jessica Sarmiento came forward and spoke.
“She was there for kids no matter what,” said Sarmiento. “She was a hard working woman who lost her battle with COPD. And this is truly an honor. I thank you.”