Thursday June 05, 2014
A proposal to change the name of Dorset Park to Veterans Memorial Park has been in the works for several months. In early May a resolution for the change was delayed, and at Monday’s City Council meeting, in a unanimous vote, the resolution was passed to officially change the name to Veterans Memorial Park.
At the May 5 City Council meeting, Jay Zaetz and fellow Veterans Memorial Committee members presented a resolution to officially change the name of the park during the May 17 dedication ceremony. At that time, the council heard from resident Joe Merone, who is the president of the homeowners association for the Village at Dorset Park neighborhood. Merone requested that the decision be delayed until he had the opportunity to talk with residents. It was agreed that not only would this be prudent, but it would also be wise to provide an opportunity for other members of the public to weigh in on this change as well. Therefore, at the June 2 meeting, a public comment session was held on re-naming Dorset Park to Veterans Memorial Park.
Rick Farnham, a member of the Veterans Memorial Committee emphasized all of the hard work that has gone into fundraising and developing the project from start to finish. “Proper signage is a key to clarifying where sections of the park are located, but if you leave off the name, Veterans Memorial Park, as the destination’s location, you simply lose the concept of an enhanced tribute to our community’s veterans and what you see before you becomes just the “Pathway of Honor” and the Veterans Memorial, in a park that remains named for and honoring the street where it is located.”
Councilors Meaghan Emery and Chris Shaw mentioned that they had received personal comments and e-mails expressing uneasiness over the potential change. The councilors reported that individuals cited the need to preserve tradition as a reason for their trepidation and others thought seeing the name would only serve to awaken the memory of the loss of a loved one.
Shaw, who did not receive any e-mails in favor of the name change, said his gut feeling of uneasiness regarding the re-naming remains. “The name, Dorset Park, represents more than just a place name, it’s an identity for South Burlington,” Shaw said. He also offered a couple of alternatives that would still preserve the park’s name: Dorset Veterans Park or Dorset Memorial Park.
Emery echoed this concern and said that there is a history that the current name reflects and that traditions are necessary in a city, just like Central Park in New York City or the Mall in Washington. “I would prefer to show my support for veterans by giving money to the VA hospital since that’s what the veterans truly need,” Emery said.Helen Riehle said she was supportive of the change and noted that there weren’t any members of the public present expressing opposition.
Pat Nowak said that she didn’t think the re-naming took anything away from the other uses of the park. “I’m an enthusiastic supporter,” Nowak said, “I think it shows great respect for those who have given the ultimate sacrifice.”
There were no members of the public in attendance at the June 2 council meeting to participate in the discussion or to offer feedback.
Farnham added, “When you use the name, Veterans Memorial Park, it’s a tribute and an honor...hundreds of people have come up to me since the ceremony to show their support...of all the things I have accomplished in my life, nothing has been as moving as this.”
Chris Shaw made the motion to approve the change, Helen Riehle seconded and the decision was unanimous.
SOURE: Corey Burdick, Correspondent