by Mayor Tammy
For two decades I sat right next to Keith Bird every Tuesday evening for council meetings. It was a privilege – and always an experience. Keith taught me so much, but the biggest thing he taught me was that you can make real change if you have passion for something. He had passion for this community…big time!
My final State of the City was a tough day. I know how much he wanted to be there – he hadn’t missed one yet. We honored him with a reserved seat up front, where he always sat, along with a moment of silence. It was too tough for me to speak about him during my State of the City address because Keith was more than just a mentor to me he was like a father in many ways.
I am grateful for the legacy Keith has left here in Meridian. This community wouldn’t be what it is today without his support. He was a major contributor, leader and advocate for Meridian and youth in this area. There aren’t too many people who grew up in Meridian who didn’t know Keith Bird.
Keith and his wife Marjorie have lived in Meridian since 1965. As a strong advocate for youth in the community, he was involved with bringing Y Basketball to Meridian in 1978, helped organize American Legion Baseball in 1979, helped build Mo Brooks Baseball Field in Storey Park in 1982, and has worked with Youth Optimist Football since 1966. Keith was inducted into the Optimist Football Hall of Fame in 1988.
Keith actively supported the Meridian Speedway, Meridian Dairy Show and the Meridian Chamber of Commerce. He was a member of the Meridian Centennial Committee in 1993 that raised funds for restoring the Pine Street School and helped plan the celebration of the Meridian Centennial.
He was often called “Mr. Meridian” and in 1996 was named Meridian’s Man of the Year. I was honored to recognize his long-time service to our community in 2009 with the Mayor’s Legacy Award.
Throughout his 20-plus years on City Council, Keith was a team player. He didn’t always agree but when the decisions were made, he jumped on board and never said ‘I told you so’. He was steadfast in his support of bringing more jobs to Meridian. He supported efforts to ensure the completion of three major transportation projects – Locust Grove Overpass, Ten Mile Interchange, and the rebuild of the Meridian Road Interchange. He was the biggest champion of our downtown redevelopment, and the longest serving member on the Meridian Development Corporation Board.
Perhaps nowhere has his impact been larger than in the growth and development of our Parks system, a system that he was proud to remind us all is first-class. Because of this, it was fitting that we were able to pay tribute to Keith’s service with the Keith Bird Legacy Park, an 8.9 acre park in the Bainbridge Subdivision that reflects Keith’s focus on parks, recreation and his life-long passion for hunting, bird dogs, and Idaho’s scenic beauty.
Keith Bird was one-of-a-kind and he is sorely missed. Please keep his wife, his three children and his grandchildren in your thoughts and prayers.
Mr. Bird – thank you. You made such a tremendous difference and left us a wonderful community to call home.
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