Housing Complex

New Park May Not Become “President Barack Hussein Obama Park”

As I reported yesterday, Ward 1 Councilmember Jim Graham authored legislation to rename the new park at 14th and Girard Streets "Barack Hussein Obama Park." This was an especially gracious move since Graham was second in line for the renaming privilege.

Local group 'Friends of 14th and Girard Park' organized a vote on July 11 to select a name for the Columbia Heights spot, now outfitted with a new rubberized basketball court surface, new game tables, new landscaping, two bathrooms and a play fountain, according to a city press release.

Here are results of the community survey, sent to me by Graham himself:

  • Obama Park, 66 votes
  • Jim Graham Park, 25 votes
  • Capitol City Park, 18 votes
  • Girard Park, 14 votes
  • Other Miscellaneous Write-ins, 17 votes.

Unfortunately, Capitol City Park may be the best contender at this point. According to the Washington Post, DC code forbids public spaces from being renamed after living figures. The law would need to change first in order for "Obama Park" to get its new signage.

Here's the actual language:

"No public space in the District shall be named in honor of any living person, or in honor of any person who has been deceased less than 2 years, unless the deceased person was a President or Vice President of the United States, a United States Senator or Representative, a Mayor of the District of Columbia, or a member of the Council of the District of Columbia."

UPDATE: City Paper freelancer Chris Peterson called in to say the park was closed today. Anyone know why? Has the park been closed before? (You know, since it opened.)

Image by dbking, Flickr Creative Commons

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