At its Nov. 6 council meeting, the city of Kirkland honored the life of civic leader Robert “Bob” Louis Neir, who died surrounded by family and friends on Oct. 24.
A resident of Kirkland since 1955, Neir served on the Kirkland City Council from 1969-91 and as mayor from 1973-80. During his time on council, he worked to shape Kirkland into a park-centric city, acquiring land for Marina Park, Marsh Park, Brink Park, Juanita Bay Park, Watershed Park, Yarrow Bay wetlands, Totem Lake Park, South Rose Hill Park and Carillon Woods Park. He also helped make improvements to Houghton Beach Park, Everest Park and Peter Kirk Park, according to a press release.
“One of the things that makes Kirkland such a special place to live is all of our beautiful parks and natural areas,” Mayor Penny Sweet said in the release. “We have to thank Bob Neir and other civic leaders of that era who had the extraordinary vision to see a rundown industrial area and out of it, create a park system that provides more public access to Lake Washington than exists in any other lakeside city in the region.”
Neir served on council as Kirkland evolved in stature. He was part of a group of elected officials and city staff that oversaw the opening of the Totem Lake Mall, a ban on drive-in and drive-thru franchises for the sake of a pedestrian-friendly, consolidated downtown core, an overhaul of the comprehensive land use plan, the building of the first senior center, the annexation of Juanita, North Rose Hill and South Rose Hill, the dedication of the new City Hall and the bond measure that resulted in the construction of Fire Stations 21 and 26, the release states. Neir also served as chair of King County Metro Transit, implementing bus service throughout the region and overseeing construction of Metro’s downtown transit tunnel.
“Bob Neir was a treasure to this community. A true public servant. His contributions to our community are immeasurable. He will be missed,” Sweet said in the release.
Neir is survived by his four sons David, Thomas, Paul and James Neir and seven grandchildren. A celebration of Neir’s life will be held Jan. 11, 2020 at Inglewood Country Club. Memorials may be made in Neir’s name to the Kirkland Heritage Society.