In 1967 Belle Ziegler founded Takoma Park's Recreation Department and served as its director for the next 23 years. While on City staff, she devoted much of her free time to civic affairs. Upon her retirement in 1990, Belle became the consummate volunteer. Soft-spoken but feisty, she was always a master at recruiting, cajoling, corralling and enticing others to join in. She was known to many as the heart and soul of Takoma Park.
Belle arrived in town in 1956, the single mother of two small children, and took a job with the City overseeing playgrounds, including this one. Soon she was coordinating some of Takoma Park's most popular, long-lasting programs, including the Ben Franklin Kite Contest, and annual Halloween party, the Independence Day fireworks and parade (for which she helped build floats that won awards not only in Takoma Park, but in New Carrollton, Silver Spring and Rockville), sports leagues and, beginning in the 1950's, roller-skating and dances under the old firehouse. Most of these programs ran on volunteer energy.
Belle embodied the spirit of the earliest residents, who took it upon themselves to create a friendly, festive community. Her overarching passion was for the Independence Day Committee, an autonomous group of volunteers who can trace their roots back to 1889. Belle was an active member throughout her years at City Hall and afterward; she served a total of 32 years on the committee. Her legendary recruiting skills guaranteed the ongoing success of the annual celebration.
In 1963 she helped Mayor Miller create the Sister City committee to foster cultural ties with Jequie Brazil. Her daughter Dolores, spent a year in Brazil with the program, and Belle served as den mother to numerous Brazilian students. In 1966, in recognition of the program, this public space was named Jequie Park. In 2010, in homage to Belle,it was re-dedicated as Belle Ziegler Park.
|Marker Condition||No reports yet|
|Date Added||Saturday, September 6th, 2014 at 6:54pm PDT -07:00|
|UTM (WGS84 Datum)||18S E 324971 N 4316741|
|Decimal Degrees||38.98218333, -77.02071667|
|Degrees and Decimal Minutes||N 38° 58.931', W 77° 1.243'|
|Degrees, Minutes and Seconds||38° 58' 55.86" N, 77° 1' 14.58" W|
|Driving Directions||Google Maps|
|Area Code(s)||301, 240|
|Closest Postal Address||At or near 7329-7599 Takoma Ave, Takoma Park MD 20912, US|
|Alternative Maps||Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap|
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