Chowchilla leaders voted unanimously on Tuesday to name a new city park after Edward Ray, the man behind the wheel when a school bus full of children was stolen and buried in 1976.
Ray passed away in May at the age of 91.
Ray was the life-long Chowchilla resident who helped save the lives of twenty-six school children during the ordeal. Considered a hero by everyone who knew him, city staff felt it was appropriate and deserving to honor his legacy.
The park, unofficially known as Legacy Park prior to the decision, is a proposed 6.8 acre park on the south east side of town near Chowchilla Union High School to be built with a grant from the State’s
Natural Resources Agency. The neighborhood park, located by 11th Street and Mariposa Avenue, was originally designed with open space grass areas for recreation and sports groups, basketball
court(s), restrooms, playground equipment, covered pavilions, walkways, and a lighted parking lot.
“This is a very fitting tribute to a wonderful man who lived his life helping children,” stated Chowchilla Mayor Janan Hebert. “We are happy we can honor Edward Ray and his legacy by connecting his
name to a place where youth are going to gather and be happy and healthy.”
The City of Chowchilla plans to move forward on the pre-construction phase of the park soon and will start by obtaining new design plans. After this process is completed, the City hopes to break ground
within a year or so.
Their goal is to see a finished “Edward Ray Park” by the end of 2013.