On Tuesday, September 7, the Nampa City Council unanimously approved the renaming of the Nampa Recreation Center to the Harward Recreation Center to honor former City of Nampa Finance Director Ken Harward. The Nampa City Council received more than 25 letters from community members in support of the name change.
Nampa Parks and Recreation Director Darrin Johnson said, “I am in full support of renaming the Nampa Recreation Center to the Harward Recreation Center. I believe there is no person more deserving of such an honor.”
In the early 1970s, Ken Harward, now 73, was appointed to the position of Nampa Finance Director by then-Mayor Ernie Starr. Harward worked for the City of Nampa for approximately 24 years and, during Mr. Harward’s time with City of Nampa, he is credited with leading the efforts that resulted in the construction of Nampa City Hall, the Nampa Civic Center, Nampa Recreation Center and Senior Center, Ford Idaho Center and Centennial and Ridgecrest golf courses. In addition, Harward organized efforts that brought pressurized irrigation to Nampa and influenced the expansion of the wastewater treatment plant, bringing it to modern standards. In 1998 Harward left the City of Nampa to work as the Executive Director of the Association of Idaho Cities where he later retired in 2014.
Nampa Mayor Debbie Kling shared, “It’s wonderful to recognize Ken Harward for not only his impact to the community of Nampa, but also for his efforts which positively impacted the entire state of Idaho through service in the Association of Idaho Cities.”
Terry White, the former City of Nampa attorney for 40 years, spoke at the council meeting on behalf of a citizen’s group who initiated the name change. White said, “Ken exemplified visionary leadership. He knew how to get things done and had a unique ability to bring people together to inspire them toward a common goal. I can say with absolute certainty the Nampa Recreation Center would not have happened without Ken Harward. Because of Ken Harward’s visionary planning, Nampa’s people benefit today.”
In the coming weeks, the Nampa Parks and Recreation Department will replace building signage and take the steps necessary for the name change. The name change is expected to take several weeks to fully implement.
The public is invited to a short ceremony held in conjunction with the Harvest Classic Fun Run in the parking lot of the recreation center, located at 131 Constitution Way, on September 18 at 10:45 a.m. A reception will follow and be held in the Nampa Senior Center beginning at 11:00 a.m.
In response to the recognition, Ken Harward shared, “I look back with fondness about the beginning of the Nampa Recreation Center. To see it transformed from a vision to reality. It represented the best of the citizen democracy as the wonderful people of Nampa joined together to plan and fund this magnificent facility. So many did so much to support the building of this community masterpiece. It is pleasing to know that thousands of young and old have used the Rec Center and that it had been able to pay for itself. Truly amazing. I am honored to have been a small part of this project.”
Ken Harward plans to personally attend the reception on September 18 with his wife, Margo, and other family members.