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Gainesville council discusses naming policy

POSTED: December 12, 2013 11:48 p.m.

The Gainesville City Council has placed on the consent agenda a policy for the naming of city-owned property, including parks.

“It discourages renaming and explains the reason that there should be some resistance to naming, but it does allow for that and a procedure for that,” said Public Works Director David Dockery, in his presentation to the council at the Thursday work session.

Reasons listed for discouragement included consideration of the meaning of the original name and financial burden of redoing maps and signage.

“Basically what it does is provide us some general guidelines about what to consider in naming a facility. It also sets up a committee that would be responsible to making a recommendation to city council concerning the name of a facility, whether that be a bridge, roadway, infrastructure, building,” he said.

A committee of three would make a name recommendation to the council, with its final approval.

“On the committee would be the Public Works director, the Communications and Tourism director and the director of whatever department has the responsibility for that facility,” Dockery said.

The policy also states that facilities can be named after persons who are deceased — for at least a year and with next-of-kin consent — and those who made a monetary contribution that funded 50 percent or more of a property acquisition or construction. Other factors outlined for names considered are the geographic location of the facility, an outstanding feature of the facility or an adjoining subdivision, street, school or natural feature.

Several items in the proposed document mirror the policy of Parks and Recreation, he added.

“I think moving forward it’s a good policy to have in place,” Dockery said.

Councilman George Wangemann agreed that a written naming policy was a sound idea.

“It shouldn’t be based on the whim of an elected official, or political considerations,” he said. “I believe that this is going to give us some justification, or a rhyme and a reason, for naming things.”

The policy also addresses plaques, markers and structures within buildings, such as an atrium. The council can bypass the procedure for recommendation in favor of a public forum.

“If the council desires to open up the naming of a facility for public comment as a procedure, it allows for that,” Dockery said.

Councilwoman Myrtle Figueras said she was uncomfortable with the idea of monetary contribution to a facility being a requirement for naming after an individual, but Dockery clarified it was one factor among many that could be cited.

Considerations listed are significant contributions of “land, funds, good and or services,” the policy reads.

Councilwoman Ruth Bruner asked if the language of the policy could clear up any confusion that a substantial monetary donation was a required consideration, which Dockery said would be addressed.

Wangemann said adopting the policy is on the agenda for the council’s Dec. 27 called meeting.


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