Public Hearing in Renaming Custer Park

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A public hearing on the renaming of a Bismarck Historical Park was divided during tonight’s Bismarck Parks and Rec Board meeting.

Park Board Members are ready to take the next step in the decision about changing the name of Custer Park.

In the next step, the Board decided, to continue with the process of creating a policy of what it takes to rename a park.

The consideration of renaming of Custer park comes after a group suggested it be changed.

“Put it to bed, make a decision tonight. But I think we’ve got some very strong feelings here both ways. I’ve taken a lot of notes. My thought is that we continue this discussion,” says Commissioner Mark Zimmerman of the Park Board.

Going into Thursday’s public hearing, Bismarck Parks and Rec Board Julie Jeske says there could be three possible outcomes after the hearing:

  • They make a motion to change the name.
  • They make a motion to leave it as is.
  • Or the board could wait for a policy to be made in regards to changing a name.

“Once we approve the renaming or naming policy, then I think at that time if we choose to rename Custer park we would review and use public input to help rename that park,” shares Jeske.

Before they began the public hearing, those wishing to speak were told each person would have 5 minutes to speak.

People filled the room to have their opinion heard.

For 2 hours, person after person walked up to express their feeling.

“Changing the name isn’t about bowing to political correctness, nor is it giving into people who feel offended. It aligns with efforts throughout North Dakota to use awareness to be respectful of other people who share our community,” shares one speaker who was for the name change.

“What changing the park will cost? What would the signage cost? What would the street names associate with the park, what would that cost? And can we afford within the budget make those determinations,” ask another speaker who was against the name change.

In the end, board members decided to move forward with creating a draft for a policy that would create guidelines on what it will take to change the name of parks.

The policy draft will be presented at next month’s board meeting, it takes place Thursday, February 20th.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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