JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – As Jacksonville City Council members decide the fate of the name of Confederate Park in Springfield, the sign that bares the park’s named has been vandalized, spray-painted with BLM to cover the name.
District 7 Councilman Reggie Gaffney says it is time for a change.
He’d like to see the name change to Springfield Park.
“It is now or never,” Gaffney said. “Over the last couple weeks I have gotten so many phone calls from people that live in Springfield and asked me to change it.”
The park was first named Dignan Park in 1907 and the city renamed the park in 1914 after the United Confederate Veterans chose Jacksonville as the site for their annual reunion. Five months later, the park was renamed. The statue was erected in 1915.
Gaffney says while the name may have fit what was happening here in Jacksonville 50 years ago, it is no longer reflective of the community that it stands in now.
“I can understand. Talking to some friends of mine that say we are removing their history, but I tell them you don’t know the scars of people like me that lived through segregation and who lived through disappointment,” Gaffney said. “And have to walk by these statues and are reminded of the stories their grandfather told them.”
Confederate Park is not the only location being considered for a name change. The councilman isn’t sure how many name changes we will see around the city but does expect changes.
“I think you will see pockets of some school name changes. You will see other parks that have caused scars to some individuals in the past that we may change,” he said. “But I think this time next year as we reflect and look back on the City of Jacksonville you will see a city that is moving forward and not stuck in the past.”
The historic marker at Confederate Park has already been removed. Gaffney says he has enough support on the council for the ordinance to pass and officially change the park name to Springfield Park.
The ordinance would be come effective unless vetoed by Mayor Lenny Curry.