(Memphis) After months of debate and even a KKK rally over renaming three confederate themed parks in Memphis, there is finally a compromise is in sight.
“I think it allows the city to heal a little bit,” Councilman Harold Collins said. “Everybody gets a little what they want.”
The parks naming committee voted Monday to recommend re-naming the former Nathan Bedford Forrest Park to the Civil War Memorial Park. The grave and statue of General Forrest would remain intact.
The former Jefferson Davis Park situated on the river could become Harbor Park.
What was the Confederate Park on Front Street could become Promenade Park. The committee recommended adding signs to that park explaining Memphis’ history.
“I think the Promenade Park could really enhance the city`s history. It could take investment but something we can all be proud of,” Collins said.
Councilman Bill Boyd said if the council votes on these names he will be ‘fairly satisfied.’
“I like part of them,” he said. “I think Promenade is too vanilla kind of plain.”
Some at the meeting were hoping the committee would restore the original names. There was a motion to do that, but it failed in a tied vote 4 to 4.
“Renaming these parks has no purpose,” Citizens to Save Our Parks Pres. Mark Buchanan said. “It doesn’t solve anything in the city. Crime is still in the city. Taxes are still high.”
Another idea that failed was renaming a park after Civil Rights leader Maxine Smith. Pastor Keith Norman made a motion to rename Jefferson Davis Park after her, but in a 7 to 1 vote the motion failed.
Mayor A C Wharton on Friday said he wanted one of the parks to be named after Smith.
“If it’s necessary, I’ll just go ahead and do it on my own,” Wharton said. “I feel that strongly about it.”
The park names debate now heads back to City Council.
One of the councilman says this list of names provides a good start.
“I think the committee did its work and did its work in earnest and came up with good compromised solutions that reflect the tolerant and diverse society that we have in Memphis, or at least the society we want,” Councilman Lee Harris said.
So far, there is no date set for when the council will take up the parks naming issue