Charlottesville is asking the public to help pick the names of five new parks.
The Parks and Recreation Advisory Board will consider names for land acquired over the past decade at its meeting on March 12.
The lands are a 20-acre parcel along Moore’s Creek with the remains of Hartman Mill; 142 acres adjacent to Ragged Mountain Natural Area; a soccer field off Davis Avenue adjacent to Northeast Park; 49 acres north of Melbourne Road along John Warner Parkway; and 30 acres across Old Lynchburg Road from Azalea Park.
According to a city policy that became effective in July 2018 — shortly after the city voted to again rename parks containing statues of Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson — parks must be named to correlate with a geographical, historical or ecological features native to the site or to the immediate vicinity.
In limited circumstances, parks can be named for people. The city policy says the individual under consideration must have given a “significant gift” of land, “significant contribution” to the park system or “significant contributions” to the quality of life in the city.
The Advisory Board meets at 5:30 p.m. March 12 at 501 E. Main St. To submit a suggestion, contact Chris Gensic at (434) 970-3656 or firstname.lastname@example.org or send a letter to 501 E. Main St.
Once names are selected, they will be presented as a recommendation to the City Council.
The last time the city gave parks a name, it was part of a two-year process.
In 2018, a year after first changing the names of the two downtown parks named for Confederate generals, City Council renamed them again, settling on Market Street Park and Court Square Park.
In 2016, the Blue Ribbon Commission on Race, Memorials and Public Spaces recommended renaming Lee and Jackson parks, which were named for their statues of Confederate Gens. Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson.
Market Street and Court Square had been presented among other “top appropriate suggestions” when councilors decided to rename the parks in June 2017. At the time, former Councilor Wes Bellamy and then-Mayor Mike Signer saw a “leadership” opportunity in moving ahead with renaming the parks despite a lack of popular support at the time for the new names “Emancipation” and “Justice.”
The council decided to consider renaming the parks again after longtime city resident Mary Carey submitted a petition that said she and others find the name Emancipation Park offensive due to its juxtaposition with the Lee statue.