Letter to the Editor: Flawed park naming process is no joke

Letter to the Editor: Flawed park naming process is no joke
Council voted on Saturday to name the park at the foot of King Street "Waterfront Park." (Photo Credit: Missy Schrott)

To the editor:

While the article “Naming process draws Ire(ish)” in the Sept. 20 Alexandria Times addressed some of the Ballyshaners concerns, it did not convey that our objective is a clearly defined, transparent process.

Further, using “Ire(ish)” in the headline was flippant. Naming the park for Fitzgerald has been a decade-long effort. I doubt that an effort to name a place in the city after a Scotsman would have had a “(Great) Scot” reference in its headline.

The Ballyshaners want a transparent process that addresses the decision to name a park for Col. John Fitzgerald, highlighting his contributions to Alexandria’s development. We are aggravated that the Fitzgerald name has been used for more than five years, then was taken away without the city’s defining a reason why. The city has not offered a clear process to name what they now call the park at King Street/Waterfront Park at King Street/that park at King Street and the river.

We want a clearly delineated, publicized naming process. Since early 2018, that has not been provided. Despite my phone calls with Mayor Allison Silberberg, Facebook messages and emails to Vice Mayor Justin Wilson and emails to Councilwoman Del Pepper, the naming process has appeared to occur in a vacuum until the meeting on Sept. 12. Even after that meeting, no timeline or process was finalized.

The naming process needs to be approved by the committee so that interested parties can comment. The lack of a formal naming process is why the Fitzgerald name was removed despite its being in place for five years.

I have spent months asking for information about the process only to get empty responses and finger-pointing. The Sept. 12 meeting did not result in an agreed-upon process.

-Kimberley Moore, Alexandria