LEAGUE CITY — Today, fathers across the county will get gifts of ties, cologne, tools and lawn equipment.
Greg Gripon just wants to give his dad a park.
One of the draws to League City is its collection of parks. In large part it’s because of an effort launched by Greg Gripon’s father, Lynn Gripon.
“Our lives are so blessed with parks, trails, playgrounds and trees (because of my dad),” Greg Gripon. “Giving back with no expectations of receiving anything in return.”
Lynn Gripon, who died in 2000, was instrumental in creating the League City parks department.
The founder of Lynn’s Landscaping had direct knowledge of how flora and fauna contributed to a community. In 1976, after years of hounding city officials, Gripon convinced then-Mayor Johnnie Arolfo to create the city’s parks board and parks department.
A few years later, he helped form the nonprofit Patrons of the Park Foundation. The group helped raise money for city parks projects.
He stayed involved with city parks projects long after he retired from the city’s parks board in 1980. At the time, city officials paid tribute to Gripon by naming the hiking trails through Countryside Park in his honor.
The park in that community was the first in the city where developers were required to set aside parkland as part of the project. It was an effort that Gripon promoted.
Gripon also donated trees to city efforts. Lots of trees.
“All the oak trees west of Highway 3 along FM 518, the trees at the Chester Davis Sportsplex, every school, within League City (and) during Arbor Day activities,” Pat Hallisey, a former mayor and the city’s second parks director said. “Lynn and Walter Hall were the two citizens making sure the original Butler Oaks throughout the old park of League City were preserved.”
A couple of years ago, Greg Gripon launched an online effort to have a park named for his father. The effort didn’t get much traction.
The effort has been given new life thanks for another former mayor, as well as Mayor Tim Paulissen.
Hallisey, who was the city’s parks director in the 1970s and the county’s park director in the 1980s, recently sent a letter to city officials asking that Countryside Park be named in Lynn Gripon’s honor.
“Lynn and his company donated an extraordinary amount of time assisting the League City Garden Club and his friend Walter Hall on the development of Helens Garden, now a city park,” Hallisey wrote. “I don’t know of one person more deserving to have Countryside Park named in his honor than Lynn Gripon.
“He certainly laid the groundwork for one of the finest park and recreation systems in the state of Texas.”
Greg Gripon said Hallisey’s letter gave him a new spirit to relaunch the effort he started a couple of years ago. During the Village Fair, an event that both Lynn and Greg Gripon chaired, Paulissen pledged to help the family in the effort.
Paulissen said the city process to rename a park requires that a request first go to the parks department. From there, if recommended by the parks department, the City Council would have to give final approval.
It was unclear if and when the city parks department would consider the request to rename Countryside Park.
While it would not come today, a park naming would be the best Father’s Day gift for Greg Gripon, who works with his son in running the company his father founded.
“The naming of the park in Lynn’s name would give our family and so many families in League City such pride,” Greg Gripon.