From Portlandia to Austin: What’s in a Park Name? – Next City

From Portlandia to Austin: What’s in a Park Name?

Butler Park in Austin (Photo by WhisperToMe)

Austin has a naming problem. In 2007, the city received more than 100 suggestions before settling on a name for Butler Park. As Audrey McGlinchy reports for KUT Austin, when they finally did choose the name, “council members were torn, so they gave the park one name, a hill in the park another, a fountain in the park another.” McGlinchy likens the chaos to a Portlandia episode.

Now, the city’s parks and recreation department is trying to address the issue with a new ordinance. The suggested protocol would limit naming to facilities only, and perhaps limiting naming to those who’ve been dead for at least two years.

Not everyone is sure that the ordinance will be effective. Greg Montes with the parks department told KUT that the plan would only do so much: “I’m not quite sure an ordinance can remove the emotional attachment or the emotional feelings someone has.”

Jenn Stanley is a freelance journalist, essayist and independent producer living in Chicago. She has an M.S. from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.

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Tags: parksaustin