The city of San Diego will begin another attempt to honor the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., when the Centre City Development Corp. Friday considers whether to name a proposed linear park downtown for the slain civil rights leader.
At the recommendation of an advisory group, CCDC, the nonprofit corporation overseeing the redevelopment of downtown, will decide whether to name the 12-acre park “King Promenade.” The decision must be approved by the San Diego City Council.
When completed, the park will run southeast from Market Street near Harbor Drive to 6th Ave. King’s full name is not proposed because Southeast San Diego already is home to a 34-acre park and recreation center on Skyline Drive named “Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park.”
Efforts to provide a prominent tribute to King, who was assassinated in 1968, sparked two racially divisive controversies in the late 1980s. A bid to name the San Diego Convention Center for King, approved by the City Council, ended in failure when the San Diego Board of Port Commissioners rejected the idea in July of 1989.
In a November 1987 referendum, voters stripped the name “Martin Luther King Way” off a major downtown thoroughfare and returned its original name, Market Street. The council had voted for the name change to honor King. A private effort to raise money for a statue honoring King also stalled.
Pamela Hamilton, CCDC’s executive vice president, said she hopes the proposed park name will not resurrect past battles over the tribute for King.
“We’ve been using Marina Linear Park as a working title . . . but the fact of the matter is that it isn’t near a Marina,” she said.