The Macon City Council recently tabled a discussion regarding changing the name of Rosa Parks Square to the Macon Civic Plaza.
On Mon., Jan. 9, the Macon City Council held a meeting at which they accepted a $10,000 gift from State Bank for the renovation and expansion of Rosa Parks Square outside City Hall.
According to Macon.com, Internal Affairs Director Keith Moffett made the suggestion on behalf of the mayor to change the current name of the park. Moffett made clear that the name change was not connected or necessary for the donation. The suggestion left many at council up in arms.
“We were in no way against accepting the grant, but we were very against changing the name,” said Councilman Rick Hutto.
The council has agreed to return to the question another day, but Hutto said that he thought it likely that the name would remain the same or at least that Parks’ name would be kept on it.
“I would like to see her name kept on it. I would like to see it stay Rosa Parks Square,” said Hutto, who is also the chairman of the public properties committee.
The mayor’s office emphasized that it meant no disrespect by suggesting the name change. In fact, part of the plan for the park includes the intent to commemorate specific sections of the space to various important public figures throughout history. This would include Rosa Parks.
Nevertheless, keeping the name for the park is a priority for some of the council members.
“While there was no attempt to be offensive, I am offended,” Councilman Henry Ficklin said to Macon.com.
Hutto expressed that it would not be prudent to rename the park after all that had been done to give it that name.
When the park was christened, Mrs. Parks’ goddaughter, Doris Crenshaw, was present for the renaming ceremony. She brought with her a letter from Parks’ executor granting permission to name the square after the civil rights icon.
“Since it had been done officially, we did not think it appropriate to take her name off the park,” Hutto said.
The grant from State Bank is going to be used to take out certain downtown parking spaces to make room for an expansion of the park. The $10,000 donation is a small step toward the realization of a much larger plan.
According to Macon.com, “An existing concept plan shows possible additions including a waterfall and small amphitheater.” Moffett also told Macon.com that the proposed plan is expected to cost somewhere in the area of $1 million.
Hutto expressed the hope that even with all the additions and renovations, the park will keep its name.
“I met Mrs. Parks when I was serving in the Carter White House,” Hutto said. “And I think it’s very appropriate to keep her name on the park.”