Councilman proposes renaming 5 Jacksonville parks to honor veterans

Move by Garrett Dennis comes after Danny Becton proposed changing name of Hemming Park to Veterans Memorial Park

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Jacksonville City Council member has filed legislation, proposing the renaming of five city parks in honor of veterans.

Councilman Garrett Dennis filed the proposal amid an ongoing feud over renaming Hemming Park. Dennis is upset after a move by fellow Councilman Danny Becton, who -- with the backing of some veterans groups -- proposed renaming the park Veterans Memorial Park.

For several weeks, the City Council has been considering changing the name to James Weldon Johnson Park, naming it after a famous civil rights activist from Jacksonville who wrote “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing” — a poem-turned-song commonly known as “The Black National Anthem.” Dennis filed the legislation to rename the park after Johnson back in June.

The suggestion to rename it Veterans Memorial Park threw a wrench into the whole renaming plan, and some council members are reluctant to vote against the two ideas. The idea came as a surprise to Dennis.

“It was definitely a sneak attack by a fellow council member,” Dennis told News4Jax after it was filed. He noted that legislation to rename Hemming Park after Johnson has been in the works for several weeks. He said Becton never raised questions or concerns about the legislation before Monday and then suggested another option at the last minute.

Dennis’ latest proposal would change the names of five parks, including Ed Austin Regional Park, Tillie K. Fowler Regional Park, William F. Sheffield Regional Park and a portion of the former Jacksonville Landing property.

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