Donner Park 100 years old; huge reason to celebrate

Donner Park is an integral part of the Columbus community, and at 100 years old it still shows its vitality.

Donner, 739 22nd St., is where residents go to relax, take a stroll, enjoy live entertainment, celebrate birthdays and let their children play.

It’s slightly younger but also popular community center and swimming pool provide places for people to socialize, conduct meetings, vote and beat the heat.

That’s a lot of good use for what started as the seedling of the city park system.

Industrialist William Donner donated a plot of land in 1917 to be used as a community park. Thirty years later his foundation donated the community center, known as Donner Center, and the pool.

Donner Park has developed as the city has, under the tutelage of the Columbus Parks and Recreation Department, which celebrates a milestone anniversary of its own this year – 70 years in operation.

The celebration this past Saturday at Donner Park marking both anniversaries was a special day enjoyed by a community that takes pride in its outstanding park system. Hundreds turned out to participate in a range of activities — pony rides, a dunk tank, a watermelon-eating contest and hand-print art creation among others — intended to say thanks to the community for its century of support.

Parks improve the quality of life of a community’s residents, offering them respite from daily stresses and opportunities to enjoy nature and the fellowship of friends. Donner Park has done just that for generations of residents.

Even as the outdated community center’s future is weighed, the park remains rooted in the fabric of the community — providing a constant, dependable source of enjoyment for tens of thousands of Columbus residents.

William Donner’s initial gift is one that keeps on giving.