The Pleasanton Parks and Recreation Commission will meet tonight to consider a proposal to rename the city's Sports Park for the late Mayor Ken Mercer.
The issue surfaced at the Feb. 4 meeting of the City Council following an earlier suggestion by Mayior Jerry Thorne to honor Mr. Mercer, possibly by renaming the the park in his honor.
Mr. Mercer, who served on City Council 14 years, many as mayor, died Jan 14. He was largely responsible for obtaining the land that now holds most of the city's sports fields.
Thorne acknowledged that the city's policy requires a five year waiting period following the death of an individual, but noted that the public interest is not likely to diminish in that time and thought an exception might be in order.
That ruling, part of a 2004 resolution, stipulates that any "requests to name any park, recreation facility, or city-owned public facility after a specific individual will be considered no earlier than five (5) years after their death."
The issue for the commission on Thursday will be the precedent of changing the name of a park for a specific individual earlier than the five years' waiting period, a ruling decided and approved by a previous City Council in a resolution (Resolution 04-019).
Susan Andrade-Wax, director of Community Services, advised the commission that it has four options:
1. Approve a one-time exception, and allow for the park to be re-named after the late Mayor
Ken Mercer; or
2. Approve the fabrication and installation of a recognition plaque that is located in the park,
describing the important role that Mayor Ken Mercer played in obtaining and/or
developing the parkland; or
3. Pursue revising the City's current "Policies for Naming Parks, Recreation Facilities, and
Other City-Owned Public Facilities" in order to facilitate the request; or
4. Deny the request.
"Although it is difficult at this point to completely analyze the costs associated with a potential name change, the impacts would appear to be minimal," Andrade-Wax states in the agenda packet for Thursday's meeting.
These would include changes in city publications and other marketing collateral pieces, such as the Activities Guide, city's website and brochures, as well as park signage. However, replacement park signs have been funded in the past through the Park Renovation Fund, and the various marketing publications are updated on a regular basis.
The commission won't make a decision on changing the name at its meeting. It's been asked, instead, to provide feedback and ultimately designate a direction it would like city staff to pursue in considering the name change request.
The commission meeting will start at 7 p.m. in the City Council chambers in the Pleasanton Civic Center, 200 Old Bernal Ave.