by Doug Graham

Bol Park will gain about one acre of land when Mickey's Pasture is added to the park this year. Following the death of Josina Bol, pioneer Roble Ridge resident, on February 16, 1996, the Bol family heirs announced their intention to deed the land to the City to become part of Bol Park. The parcel will be dedicated to Josina's memory. Joor Bol, one of Josina's sons and one of the two trustees of the estate, told of the family's decision, made some time ago, to honor Josina's desires to see the land become a permanent part of the park. The pasture will continue to provide a home for Mickey, age 28, in his declining years.

Recent drawing of Mickey in his current (happy) habitat -- by Edith Smith

Mickey's pasture is familiar to many Barron Park residents and visitors who have walked the bikepath through Bol Park. It is the triangle of land immediately south of the old railroad bridge (now the new flood control project aqueduct-bridge). It is bordered by the bikepath, Matadero Creek upstream from the bridge, and the VA Hospital laundry plant. Mickey has lived there ever since his removal from the original "donkey pasture" when it was developed into the irrigated turf portion of Bol Park in the Spring of 1973.

Arrangements for the transfer of land are being facilitated by the BPA Parks Committee Chair, Douglas L. Graham. Doug will be working with Joor Bol of Ashland, Oregon, Gerald Bol of Sebastapol, California, and Vicci Rudin of the City Manager's Office. It is the Bol family's intent to complete the transfer within about two months' time.


Would you like to see Mickey -- and a companion -- living in his pasture on a permanent basis? The BPA Parks Committee is discussing ways and means of maintaining a pair of donkeys on the pasture, which will be donated to the park this spring. As most of our readers know, Mickey was the personal property of Josina Bol. He is now under the control of Kees Bol of Skillman, NJ, executor of personal property for the estate. Josina's grandson Josh has been feeding and caring for Mickey for the past six years, while he has lived on Roble Ridge with his grandmother. The Bol family is planning to sell the homestead at 925 Roble Ridge this year, so Josh must move and someone else must pick up the responsibility for Mickey's care.

June Fleming, the Palo Alto City Manager, has told us that the City will pick up the tab for veterinary and farrier costs (almost $1,000 in 1995) for the time being. However, in the long run, we probably will want to establish a group of neighbors to handle feeding, grooming and general responsibility. This may take the form of a public foundation. Edith Smith, artist and "guardian" of Mickey and his predecessors for several decades, is initiating efforts to put together a group. If you are interested in helping to keep Mickey in the neighborhood, please contact Edith at 493-9386, or Parks Chair Doug Graham at 493-0689.

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