Sharee Fraser remembers taking a visit to the Old Sawmill District with her late husband Hal years ago, back before the cleanup efforts, and even before the baseball stadium was built.
She listed off some of the things found on the dilapidated site over the years: drug paraphernalia, filthy mattresses, and, saddest of all, a dead body.
"We would never, ever have imagined how incredible all of this is," she said Friday afternoon at what's now the thriving, picturesque Silver Park, with the backdrop of the Ogren-Allegiance Park, which Fraser helped build.
Behind the park are the beginnings of a condo development, and along the river is a new section of the Riverfront Trail dedicated to Hal, who loved working behind the scenes and out of the spotlight as a banker, volunteer and civic activist to improve his city.
"The park, the walk, the community that's involved, and I know he would be so very, very proud and yet very, very embarrassed," she said.
The Missoula Redevelopment Agency, which Fraser served for some 20 years, named the trail "Hal's Walk," in honor of Fraser, who died in 2011 at age 68.
The sunlit morning ceremony was attended by friends and family, including his wife and sons Joe and Jason, fellow members of the MRA, representatives of city and county government, and co-workers from First Security Bank.
"Hal's Walk" stretches from the boat ramp on the Clark Fork River west to the bridge over the irrigation ditch near the California Street Footbridge.
The serene path is bookended by plaques whose sides are laser-cut with the word "community."
The plaques have some words provided by Mayor John Engen that pay tribute to Fraser's cooperative spirit and encourage others to follow in his civic-minded footsteps, which he reiterated in a speech Friday.
In part, they read "He believed that the arts fed our spirits, that baseball was magical, that young people and old people mattered and that if we worked together, the people of Missoula could do anything they put their minds to."
The light poles along the trail bear Corten steel banners with other ideals Fraser upheld.
The sequence from east to west reads: humor, respect, passion, commitment, courage, selfless, enthusiasm, vision, patience and perseverance.
The idea of a walk in Fraser's honor was drawn from his frequent riverfront jaunts with his friend Gerald Mueller.
"For about a decade we became walking partners most weekend mornings," Mueller said at the dedication.
On Saturdays, they'd head up Mount Sentinel for the long view.
"When you're up on the 'M,' you can look out over the Missoula community. You can see all the elements that make it up except for the people. In terms of the physical structures that are out there, you can see the university, the downtown, the cityscape. You can see the hospital, the schools, the parks, the roads that connect all of us, the shopping centers, the mall. You can see all the way out to Reserve," he said.
Then on Sundays, they'd head along the Riverfront in the city core, talking about life and community with no particular agenda in mind.
"Hal's fingerprints are all over this town, but he didn't work alone. He worked with you and together, as it says on the plaque, there's almost nothing we can't get done," Mueller said.
In that spirit, plaques were also presented to Chris Behan and Jennifer Anthony of the MRA in honor of their work on the Silver Park project.
Mueller said Fraser would be "thrilled" to see what the area has become.
Following the speeches and the cutting of the ribbon, everyone was encouraged to join passers-by and take a walk past the banners, which feature cutouts of footprints bearing the letters "HW."