Jefferson Davis Park will likely get new name in Cowtown

The board will decide on an official recommendation in late October, which will then be forwarded to the city council for an actual vote.

FORT WORTH, Texas -- It looks increasingly likely that a park named after the president of the Confederacy will be renamed sooner rather than later.

The Fort Worth Park and Recreation Advisory Board met Wednesday afternoon and members expressed strong support for renaming Jefferson Davis Park, the eight-acre site not far from Seminary Drive.

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As WFAA first reported in August, an online petition called for the city to reconsider the park's namesake, which local historians say dates back to the park's purchase in 1923.

Some local residents have offered up alternative names, including that of fallen Dallas police officer and Fort Worth local Patrick Zamarripa. He grew up in the area and lived just blocks away from the park.

His mother, Valerie, sat front row at the meeting Wednesday as board members went back and forth.

"It would be a great honor because he was just an ordinary kid from the Southside of Fort Worth," she said afterward. "I want his legacy to continue because of his daughter, so that way, she knows what he is all about. He was about the community."

But per city policy, individual names are typically only considered if they had a direct impact on a particular park. The board could decide to forego that criteria, but as discussion continued at the meeting it seemed the name "Unity Park" gathered more support.

The board will decide on an official recommendation at its late October meeting, and then forward it to the city council for an actual vote.

During the interim, the public can contact the city with any suggestions or concerns.

Valerie says whether her son's name is considered or not, she's simply honored folks in the neighborhood suggested it earlier this week.

Emily Farris, a local college professor who started the petition, says what's most important is that the Jefferson Davis name appears to be losing support.

"It's recognizing part of a larger national conversation that is already taking place in cities like New Orleans and Charlottesville," she said.

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The city council is expected to debate the issue and hold a vote by year's end.