Hazel Miller Plaza gets a warm welcome in downtown Edmonds

Among those cutting the ribbon: Betty Larman, Jeri Schoenfeld and Diane Buckshnis of the Floretum Garden Club; Parks Maintenance Manager Rich Lindsay; Mayor Dave Earling; Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Director Carrie Hite; Larry Temple of Edmonds in Bloom and Maria Montalvo, Leigh Bennett and Dick Ellis of the Hazel Miller Foundation Board.
A plaque honoring Hazel Miller was unveiled during the event.

After four years of discussion, planning, fundraising and construction, the City of Edmonds on Tuesday officially unveiled what Mayor Dave Earling declared as a “new community gathering place”: a beautifully landscaped small park in front of Old Milltown, appropriately named after a local woman who was dedicated to the betterment of Edmonds.

Many local organizations and individuals were invested in creation of Hazel Miller Plaza, so named after the late Edmonds woman whose foundation provided an $88,000 grant award (covering more than half the project costs) toward building the park. The City of Edmonds purchased the site in 2008 with the intent of preserving the central downtown open space for community use, and the Edmonds Floretum Garden Club took the lead in pushing for renovation of what was known then as Old Milltown Garden.

One of the Floretum Club’s legacy members, Rachel Setchfield, designed the original landscape after the Old Milltown Shopping Center was built in the 1970s and maintained the garden for many years. In 2008, the garden club started raising funds to redevelop the garden, and many members made significant individual contributions of over $1,000.

“It’s a great community project,” said Barbara Chase, who along with her husband Vern were recognized Tuesday for their donation.

Park donors are recognized prominently on one of the raised flower beds.
Steel drum music was provided by Ian Dobson.

Also integral to the park’s development were City of Edmonds employees who did much of the work to create the park, from building the forms for the raised flower beds that also double as park seating, to installing irrigation systems, to performing electrical work to planting flowers. By keeping the work in-house, the city was able to save significant money, said Carrie Hite, the City’s Director of Parks, Recreation and Cutural Services, who lauded Parks Maintenance Manager Rich Lindsay for his efforts to oversee Hazel Miller Plaza development.

Long-time friends of Hazel Miller were present at the project unveiling as well, including several who now serve on the board of the Hazel Miller Foundation, which awards grants to local projects in the areas of education and youth services; poverty alleviation and hunger; civic and community services and amenities; the environment, and culture and the arts. They included two Miller acquaintances who participated in the official ribbon-cutting: Lake Ballinger resident Dick Ellis, a friend of Hazel Miller’s for more than 60 years, and Leigh Bennett, who helped Miller set up the foundation and now sits on the board.

“I’m very pleased to see this,” said Ellis, as he gestured toward the park.

This stone fountain, sculpted by Richard Hestekind, serves as a centerpiece of the park.


  1. After watching the steady progress of this project I’m joyed to see that the plaza has opened. What a source of civic pride! It truly IS a beautiful park, and a promising gathering spot for downtown strollers.

    Congratulations all around to the Hazel Miller Foundation, and those in the community who participated in this fantastic endeavor!

    Thank you!

  2. It was a wonderful celebration of the community effort. Parks Director Carrie Hite did a terrific job in recognizing the many people and groups who helped make the park a reality. Larry Temple, president of Edmonds in Bloom, is the man pictured behind Carrie Hite.

  3. Great turn out.. great place.. thank you to everyone for seeing this through and making this happen.. especially Mrs. Betty Larmen who flew back into town from the East coast for the occasion.. now that’s dedication folks~ This park is a certified wildlife habitat and many thanks go out to the Parks Dept. staff for desiring and helping to make that part happen. See you at the plaza… most likely visiting the most awesome ada-accessible, water bottle filling and dog bowl watering station provided by Mrs. Rebecca Wolfe in honor of her late husband.. the definition of community at it’s best right here..!

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