Council approves diamond’s new name


Jerry Knoop looks at the sign which will be placed at Harmon Park naming one of the diamonds “Knoop Diamond.” Holding the sign are Duane Gaier, left, city of Sidney parks and recreation director, and Mayor Mike Barhorst.

SIDNEY — A city resident was honored Monday night for his commitment to make the parks a better place for Sidney’s children. The presentation was made during the Sidney City Council meeting.

Jerry “Jaws” Knoop, who was a member of the city’s recreation board for 30 years, will see his name at Harmon Park anytime he visits the park. The softball diamond was named “Jerry Knoop Diamond” in honor of the years Knoop has served the city.

“Sidney is a beautiful town,” said Knoop after seeing the sign in his honor. “I’m 73 years old and I’ve had no desire to go anywhere other than Sidney.

“Our park system is great,” he said. “People realize that they need a good park and recreation program to get businesses in here.”

Duane Gaier, parks and recreation director, told council he had been approached by a resident to honor Knoop for all the years of service to the city. The Recreation Board approved the request during its May 4 meeting. Council heard the first reading of the ordinance for the renaming of the diamond at its June 8 meeting.

“A few of the major accomplishments that were completed during Jerry’s time on the Recreation Board were the expansion of Custenborder Fields from five to seven fields,” said Gaier, “construction of Flanagan Sports Complex including the Lodge Soccer Fields, Davis and Stolle Bridges installation, Veteran’s Memorial Walkway, acquisition and development of Camp Brookside and the Canal Feeder Trail. These projects have had a positive effect on thousands of park patrons over the years and will for many more.

“During Jerry’s tenure, he was instrumental in developing a park system that is second to none, and will be enjoyed for many generations.”

The ordinance renaming the park was approved with only one dissenting vote. Janet Born cast a no vote. After the meeting she said several people approached her and said they thought it “was disrespectful to Mr. Harmon who dedicated the land to the city.”