Just past a line of trees and over a chain-link fence, several yellow construction rigs rumble as they clear an empty lot to build new houses.
Jim Corcoran, 79, lives on the neighboring property.
He’s donated the almost three and a half acres in Bothell to Snohomish County, so it can one day become a park. The land is worth at least $1.5 million. On Oct. 18, county workers visited Corcoran’s house to make the deal final.
“What’s going on right next door, that’s the reason I’ve turned this into a location that can never be developed as anything other than a community park,” Corcoran said.
He’s been working with the county for more than a decade. He hopes to name the site Corcoran Memorial Park, and dedicate the space to loved ones who have passed away.
Corcoran’s younger brother died in 1970. He’d served in the Army with the 82nd Airborne Division during the Vietnam War.
Corcoran’s partner, Sharon Jungers, lost two brothers in 1960 in a plane crash in the South Pacific.
And in 2014, Corcoran’s nephew, Ron de Quilettes, was one of 43 people who died in the Oso mudslide.
Corcoran also is an Army veteran, and spent 31 years in the military. As a Green Beret, he visited 42 countries.
“We are teachers of military skills, and we teach in the language of the country that we’re in,” he said. “I was a Korean linguist and a Spanish linguist.”
Corcoran retired from the military in 1980, and six years later moved to his current home.
He started to think about preserving the land about 20 years ago. Once the park is finished, it’s going to have a playground, a place for dogs to run around and a picnic area. Play equipment could be installed within two years.
The agreement is a life estate, meaning Corcoran can stay at his home for the rest of his life.
This isn’t the first time Corcoran has given back. He’s sponsored sports teams at the Alderwood Boys & Girls Club for the past 25 years. He keeps the photos from each year.
On Friday morning, about a dozen county workers gathered at his house.
Corcoran stood in front of the group with Tom Teigen, the county’s director of Parks, Recreation and Tourism. After they said a few words, Corcoran passed the contract over to Teigen, and removed his right work glove to shake hands.
The two paused for a moment as cameras clicked.
“I think it’s an incredible gift to the community, an incredible gift to future generations and one of the more generous gifts we’ve ever received as a county,” Teigen said.