Castle Rock considers naming park after fallen deputy Zackari Parrish

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CASTLE ROCK, Colo. -- A new park in Castle Rock is in need of a name and some in the community are trying to use it as an opportunity to honor fallen Douglas County deputy Zackari Parrish.

The park will soon be built in a 5 1/2-acre plot at the corner of Low Meadow Boulevard and Fiddle Street in the Meadows neighborhood.

It will have a combination of outdoor turf areas, pickle ball courts, a playground and picnic pavilions.

“Typically we solicit suggestions for naming so we go out into the community,” said Jeff Smullen, assistant director of Parks and Recreation for Castle Rock.

Castle Rock put out an online survey last week asking residents for input on names. It asked for words that a park makes you think of. It also asked for animals that a park makes you think of.

A running list of options so far include Kellogg Park, named after the man credited with naming Castle Rock, Fiddle Park or Low Meadow Park for the streets where the park will be located, and Gamble Oak Park for a type of tree commonly found in the area.

There is also section to write in suggestions, which must meet the following criteria: “Foster a sense of community and small town character, heighten the awareness of Town history, celebrate the natural environment, call attention to points of pride in our community, call attention to people, events and geography that have shaped the Town of Castle Rock.”

“There is no stronger tie to the community that Zack Parrish’s life and the sacrifice he made,” said Sam Varela, operations commander for the Castle Rock Police Department.

Parrish was shot and killed in the line of duty on Dec. 31. Before he joined the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, he was an officer with Castle Rock Police Department.

“Zack was of course our friend, part of our family and I think his legacy touched a lot of lives in this community. To have a park named after him I think would really be a great representation of what Zack was. Everybody that knew Zack knew that things that were important to him were family friends community and that’s what a park is about,” Varela said.

The department decided to share the park’s naming survey with its members, with the idea to write-in a suggestion for “Zackari S. Parrish III Memorial Park”. The idea quickly took off.

“It was actually overwhelming. We just put it out to our members internally and that quickly branched out with social media,” Varela said.

After a little more than a week, Parks and Recreation said it has more responses to its survey than usual.

“I think for this stage it’s more than what we would typically see,” Smullen said. “We’ve had about 560 submissions so far. Right now overwhelmingly those suggestions are for either Parrish Park or Zackari Parrish Memorial Park.”

The town will take suggestions through the survey until Aug. 31. At that point, a naming committee appointed by the town manager will consider the options. It will make a formal presentation to Town Council in September.

The naming process does work like a vote. If the most people suggest Parrish Park, it does not mean the park will become Parrish Park.

“Town Council is the ultimate authority on naming so in some cases, past Town Councils have taken those suggestions, sometimes they have not,” Smullen said.

Town Council will make a final decision in October.

The Castle Rock Police Department said it will not be disappointed if their suggestion is not picked.

“No. Zack’s memory is important to this department and this town and he’s remembered in many ways. A park named after him would be fantastic but we have many other ways that we’ll remember Zack forever,” Varela said.

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