Fort Worth's Jefferson Davis Park to face naming review, scrutiny on Wednesday

Fort Worth to consider renaming Jefferson Davis Park

FORT WORTH, Texas -- For the first time since a heavily circulated petition surfaced last month, a Fort Worth park named after Jefferson Davis, the one-time president of the Confederacy, will face public scrutiny and a city review on Wednesday.

The Fort Worth Parks and Recreation Advisory Board will receive a presentation and discuss renaming the eight-acre spot close to Seminary Drive at its monthly meeting.

Jeanette Martinez lives adjacent to the park. She's helping push a petition that asks for a name change.

"There are more local people we should consider," she said. "One that represents or honors someone that has had an impact in that community."

Martinez says a number of alternative names are being floated in the neighborhood.

Her personal recommendation: Fort Worth local and fallen Dallas Police Officer Patrick Zamarripa, who was one of five officers killed during a police ambush in 2016.

"He was an acquaintance of mine. He lived in that neighborhood just a few blocks down. He went to Rosemont. I went to Rosemont. He went to Pascal. He was a Navy veteran, police officer," she said.

Martinez and other advocates will be at the meeting to offer their two cents on the larger renaming prospect.

The city's park director, Richard Zavala, says they average a park name changes "every couple of years." 

He added that the trend these days in most larger cities, including Fort Worth, is to focus on names associated with areas of town.

"Generally, we like to have parks named after geographic locations, neighborhoods, and neighborhood associations. Those are timeless," said Zavala.

But he said the city would still consider individuals if they've had a significant local impact.

The park, which was established and named in 1923, includes a playground, soccer fields and a trail. Davis had no well-known ties to Fort Worth.

Before any decision is made, the parks board usually waits 60 days to allow time for public input, but Zavala said that can be reduced if they want to push a recommendation to the city council faster.

Ultimately, it's the council that will approve any name change.

Wednesday's meeting is at 4 p.m. at the Fort Worth Botanic Gardens. 

© 2017 WFAA-TV


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