Glendale commission nixes naming park after veterans

For the second time, the idea of changing the name of Central Park to Veterans Park fell flat with a lower-level city commission, which recommended earlier this week that the City Council wait until future capital improvements near the park are complete before considering renaming it.

Back in 2011, the City Council decided to not change the name, as recommended by a local veterans group. Now, council members want to consider the name swap again, but it’s city policy to first get a recommendation from the appointed members of the Parks, Recreation & Community Services Commission.

The lower-level commission unanimously agreed on Monday that it just wasn’t the right time to consider changing the name of the open space at 201 E. Colorado St., which is bordered by the Central Library and the Adult Recreation Center.

“I think it’s a little premature at this time,” Commission President Rodney Khan said during the meeting.

Not only is the Central Library slated for a massive $15 million renovation in the coming years, but a planned paseo is also in the pipeline from the Museum of Neon Art, which is under construction, to the area around the library and park. The museum faces Central Park from its location in the 200 block of North Brand Boulevard.

In addition, city officials have targeted Central Park as the host of monuments from international sister cities. The park is already home to a monument donated by the Korean American Sister Cities Assn. and the Korean American Forum of California.

“I think [the name] Central Park, it seems more appropriate with the new developments coming up,” said Commissioner Ara Kalfayan.

Several commissioners also noted that the city has yet to do a master plan for the now passive park and it would be unsuitable to rename it before such a study is complete. They added that once that document is complete, the city could auction off naming rights to big donors in order to generate some much needed money for parks and recreation.

Commissioner Peter Fuad said rejecting the name Veterans Park right now shouldn’t be taken as an affront to veterans, but there may be better names out there.

“Veterans, not to diminish it, it’s sort of a generic name and I think we can do a lot better,” Fuad said, adding that even if another name is chosen in the future, the city could set apart a section of the 1.5-acre park to honor veterans.

Glendale has two memorials for veterans, one near City Hall and the other in Montrose, and officials have said during previous discussions about renaming Central Park to Veterans Park that they feared doing so would dilute the importance of the other facilities or duplicate efforts.

The commission’s recommendation must go to the City Council, which will have final say on the matter.


Follow Brittany Levine on Google+ and on Twitter: @brittanylevine.


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