Canyon County

A family donated this park to a city to honor their father. Now officials may sell it

Wishes can come true: Middleton High School student council sees to that.

Middleton High School students and staff got to submit a wish, then the student council got busy. With community donations, they've been able to grant about 300.
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Middleton High School students and staff got to submit a wish, then the student council got busy. With community donations, they've been able to grant about 300.

In 1992, the city of Middleton approached Dorothy Davis with a request: Would she be willing to sell a small parcel of land she owned in town so the city could build a park there.

Davis considered that, then made a request of her own: Could she donate the land, with the city naming the park after her recently deceased husband, Harold Davis, a former city councilman?

The city agreed. But now, Davis Park could be sold. And the city never told the Davis family.

A few weeks ago, Dorothy and Harold’s daughter, Kaye Henderson, who lives in Washington state, heard from an old friend in Middleton who asked if she knew that the city wanted to sell her father’s park for a minimum price of $22,000.

“I had no idea,” Henderson told the Statesman in a phone interview.

The park is small — just a 7,500-square-foot patch of green grass southwest of the intersection of Star Boulevard and South Middleton Road, with a single covered picnic table and a modest shed in the back corner. If not for the sign — Davis Park — it might be hard to tell that it is a park at all.

Despite its size, the park means a great deal to Henderson. Her father raised Kaye and her two brothers, Larry and Kenny, in Middleton. In addition to serving on the council, Harold Davis was a businessman and volunteered as a firefighter. He and his wife are buried in Middleton.

“I feel like they’re trying to destroy my father’s memorial,” she said.

Henderson said that the city became interested in selling the land after Custom Sheds of Idaho approached city officials with plans to expand the business’s footprint. The business is adjacent to the park.

Neither Middleton Mayor Darin Taylor nor Custom Sheds of Idaho returned requests for comment.

After Henderson learned what was happening, she phoned Middleton Mayor Darin Taylor. He told her that he hadn’t been aware that her family donated the land. He told her he’d look into the title on the land.

But the city had already set the process in motion to sell the land, by advertising an auction. The city decided instead to amend the conditions of the auction: The land would be sold to the highest bidder, subject to council approval.

The Davis family donated a small parcel of land they owned to the city to build a park. The Middleton Gazette wrote about the new park in May 1992. Provided by Kaye Henderson

On Wednesday, the city held the auction. It received a single bid. It came from Custom Sheds of Idaho, for the minimum bid price of $22,000.

This Wednesday, Aug. 21, the Middleton City Council will decide whether to approve the sale.

“I’m hopeful the council will decide to preserve my father’s memory,” Henderson said. “My mother lived to be 101. I’m so glad this didn’t happen when she was alive. It would have been devastating.”

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