A Robbinsdale Park unites two families
Something unique is happening in Robbinsdale’s Hollingsworth Park.
When a Robbinsdale firefighter named Thomas Hollingsworth died while fighting a house fire in 1984, the city of Robbinsdale worked quickly to rename a section of Lakeview Terrace Park after him. The park is a quiet place on the shore of Crystal Lake.
Thomas Hollingsworth left behind a wife, Kim, and three sons. The family appreciates the park serving as a memorial.
“He was still there, at the park, no matter where we are,” says Ryan, the youngest of the three sons who now lives in Florida. “When I come back to see the park, I am proud every time.”
More than 30 years after the city renamed the park, not much has changed. Another local family decided to take a unique step to honor their loved one by revamping the park. Anna Donato-Ghani started a foundation shortly after her brother, Victor, died of a heart attack. He was a well-known florist in the area. Anna says Victor had a huge personality, but liked to stay out of the spotlight.
“What he lived for is standing back and hearing people say, wow, that’s beautiful,” says Anna.
She says revamping a local park named for another person, would be the perfect tribute.
“It’s a beautiful park, but I think we can enhance it and make it more beautiful for years to come,” says Anna. “When you change something you also bring attention to the park, and there’s a lot of new people. You are bringing in light to who this man was. [Thomas] was a firefighter who lost his life.”
The families and the community came together Oct. 11 for a ribbon cutting at the park.
“It’s unique for us,” says council member Dan Rogan. “We haven’t had many park improvements that have happened here that have all been dedicated by private funds and that’s what makes this special.”
To learn more about future fundraising efforts and future phases for the park, visit www.victordonatomemorial.com