Council Changes Parks Names, Tells Nashville to Back Off

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(Memphis) - It's the one thing the whole Memphis City Council agrees on.

"There is no reason for these people in Nashville to be in our business," Councilman Harold Collins said.

They're fighting back against a proposed bill stopping cities from changing park names with a military affiliation.

"You all decide you can name it 1 -2-3 orĀ  A-B-C I don't care this is more or less to block the legislation from Nashville," City Attorney Allan Wade said.

To keep lawmakers in Nashville meddling in city affairs the council voted to change three park names temporarily.

Forrest Park, Confederate Park and Jefferson Davis Park are now the Health Sciences Park, Memphis Park and Mississippi River Park, respectively.

"My vote might be very different today but for the interference of Nashville, but for them attempting to co-op our ability to govern ourselves. That is what this is about," Councilman Shea Flinn said.

"Who knows? We may come back and name the park Nathan Bedford Forrest, but we will never let the legislature in Nashville control what we in Memphis do for ourselves," Councilman Collins said.

"I'm very upset," Katherine Blaylock said after hearing the vote. Blaylock's great grandfather was in the 7th Tennessee Calvary with General Nathan Bedford Forrest.

She said the name of the park where Forrest is buried should be preserved.

While the council is clearly frustrated with Nashville, she supports their efforts.

"Nashville is trying to protect our history," she said. "You can't just rewrite history and push it under the carpet. It happened the good and the bad and it needs to be remembered so the bad doesn't happen again."

Also at the meeting the council voted to form a committee that will now come up with permanent names for the three parks.