City receives $25,000 for Nirvana Park restoration

During the Rasmuson Foundation’s site visit to Cordova June 26-27, Edward B. Rasmuson, Chairman of the Board, presented Mayor Clay Koplin with a $25,000 grant for renovations to Nirvana Park. The funds are a Rasmuson Tier I grant.

Mayor Koplin knew this grant would be appropriate for Cordova and the improvements the city, and the parks and recreation department, would like to accomplish.

“When the Rasmuson Foundation hinted that they’d like to award communities – in which they hold their board meetings, with a grant that can visibly benefit the whole community, I worked with city staff and non-profits to identify a pressing project or need,” Koplin said.
Koplin explained that they considered non-profit parks and projects, community facilities and projects which were already in progress.

“Over the past few years, there has been growing use and, as a consequence, growing conflicts in the use of the beaches and grounds of the historic Nirvana Park. In working with interim Cordova City Manager Mike Hicks, and Parks and Recreation Staff Susie Herschleb, their concern about the safety, restroom facilities, beach erosion, and recreational use of the site helped mark Nirvana Park for accelerating improvement that were already in progress, but frankly weren’t keeping up,” Koplin said.

“Now, thanks to the Rasmuson Foundation, areas can be designated for swimming, jet skis, kayaking and sometimes conflicting uses. Portable summer restroom facilities and improvements to the beach can make this famous, historical park a fun, safe and clean environment for the families and children of Cordova to enjoy,” he said.

Koplin said that he and city personnel were surprised and delighted by the generous gift that Rasmuson President and CEO Diane Kaplan presented to Cordova at lunch June 27, on behalf of the foundation.

“Ed and Cathryn Rasmuson and the entire Rasmuson Foundation board must be extremely gratified to see the positive impact that their work has on the lives and families of their fellow Alaskans,” said Koplin. “Thank you, Rasmuson Foundation, for exemplifying the Alaskan Spirit,” Koplin said. “Thank you for your helping hand.”

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Cinthia Gibbens-Stimson is a staff writer and photographer for The Cordova Times. She has been writing in one form or another for 30-plus years and has had a longstanding relationship with The Cordova Times starting in 1989. She's been an Alaskan since 1976 and first moved to Cordova in 1978. She's lived in various West Texas towns; in Denver, Colorado; in McGrath, Cordova, Galena, Kodiak, Wasilla, Anchorage and Fairbanks, Alaska and in Bangalore, India. She has two children and three grandchildren. She can be reached at or follow her on Instagram @alaskatoindia.