Newport Parks Turns Down Request To Name Park After Civic Leader Ralph Rodheim

by stephanieargyros on August 23, 2017

in Latest News

Balboa Island

The Newport Beach Parks Commission recently denied a request from city residents to rename a park on Balboa Island after late resident and civic leader Ralph Rodheim.

The campaign to rename the park was led by Rodheim’s friend and fellow civic leader Larry Kallestad. Rodheim, who died earlier this year from Lou Gehrig’s disease, merited some recognition from his community, Kallestad told the Parks, Beaches & Commission.

Rodheim, a Newport Beach native, organized the Newport to Ensenada boat race, the Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade, and helped found the the annual Wooden Boat Festival at the Balboa Yacht Club. Rodheim service on the Balboa Village Merchants association and was honored as Citizen of the Year in 2010. Rodheim founded the Rodheim Marketing Group and he and his wife Penny owned Balboa Boat Rentals for more than 25 years.

The city allows features of parks, like trees, benches, building and rooms, to be named after citizens, but not the parks themselves. Parks Commissioner Roy Englebrecht said naming Balboa Island Park after Rodheim was a “slippery slope,” since there are so many outstanding citizens and not enough public spaces to bear all their names.

Larry Weeshoff, who collaborated with Rodheim to create the aquatic complex at Corona del Mar High School, pointed to the renaming of Ensign View Park after John Wayne. Commissioner did not respond to the comment, however they were not involved in renaming the park after the late actor and Newport Beach resident, which was a decision taken directly by the City Council in April.

Kallestad said that he was disappointed by the commission’s decision and that a naming a park bench or a tree after Rodheim would not do his late friend justice.

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Post by Stephanie Argyros

Stephanie has written 252 articles.

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