Rancho Ramona Park renamed John V. Denver Park for former longtime Menifee councilmember

Casey Deaver, representing Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez, presents a Certificate of Recognition to longtime Menifee City Councilman John Denver with Menifee city manager Armando Villa looking on at the John V. Denver Park renaming Wednesday, Oct. 2, at 28050 Encanto Drive in Menifee. Tony Ault photo

Retired Menifee City Councilmember John Denver, sometimes called the “Father of Menifee” by longtime friends, was honored by the city council by renaming Rancho Ramona Park to the John Denver Park in special ceremonies Wednesday, Oct. 2.

A Menifee and Perris Realtor, Denver was one of the city’s first council members when the city incorporated in 2008 and served on the council until 2018. The park is located at 28050 Encanto Drive in Menifee in Denver’s neighborhood. After retiring, Denver found many of his neighbors and friends were seeking to honor his 10 years of service to the city by renaming the park after him, because of his work to bring additional facilities to the neighborhood park.

Agreeing to the residents’ request, the council approved the park renaming and invited Denver and his wife Linda to a ribbon cutting to unveil a new park sign bearing the name John V. Denver Park. Many city, county and state officials and neighborhood friends attended the ribbon cutting, which was planned by Rotary Club of Menifee during the city’s Clean Air Day.

Mayor Bill Zimmerman called Denver to the microphone after receiving many proclamations from county and state elected officials.

“I’ll try real hard not to cry,” Denver said while accepting the honor. “I cannot believe what the city has done for me and allowed me to be something like you are about to see in the park.”

He said the park, which was previously owned by the homeowners association, was ignored for some time after a tragic drowning accident, but after the city came in and took over, “They really did a wonderful job. Look at it now.”

“This is a great event that honors our history as a city while also showing our commitment to providing great amenities for our residents,” Community Services director Jonathan Nicks said. “Additionally, the city council and the staff want to show the importance of clean air and sustainability initiatives through the Clean Air Day proclamation and tree planting.”

The outdoor exercise equipment was provided through a donation made to the city at the Sept. 18 city council meeting from the Rotary Club of Menifee.

“I want to extend a very sincere thank you to our Rotary Club,” District 4 Council member Dean Deines said. “Their dedication to our community continues to show through their generous donations.”

Tony Ault can be reached by email at tault@reedermedia.com.