In a meeting where no residents rose to speak, the city’s park board voted unanimously Wednesday to recommend changing the name of Jefferson Davis Park to Unity Park.
Subject to City Council approval as early as Dec. 12, the sign bearing the park’s new name will read Parque Unidad/Unity Park.
Jefferson Davis Park was named in 1923 after the president of the Confederacy. At its September meeting, the board asked city staff to expedite the renaming process.
“There was enough interest in the community to trigger the name change,” board member Daniel Villegas said. “I think a change is appropriate in light of what happened in Charlottesville. I hope the full City Council will support the name change whenever they have it on their agenda.”
The 8.6-acre park is at 4001 Townsend Drive, off Seminary Drive, in a predominantly Hispanic neighborhood. At the last meeting, Villegas offered up the name Unity Park, which was suggested in an online petition.
The online petition sparking the name change conversation was started after the August march by white nationalists in Charlottesville, Va., which led to one death and a national movement to remove or relocate Confederate statues, monuments and other symbols.
Although no one who attended the meeting commented on the name change recommendation, residents sent the city 10 emails — seven which were characterized as in opposition and three in support.
“There are still a lot of us who consider ourselves Americans first who don’t want history changed or rewritten and will fight to preserve it,” one email to Parks Director Richard Zavala said.
“It’s disappointing to see how cowardly our country’s city officials have become,” said another email.
“I think the name Parque Unidad/Unity Park is a wonderful suggestion that honors the fact that the park is located in a largely Hispanic neighborhood,” another email said.
This story includes information from Star-Telegram archives.