If you want to rename a street to honor someone’s memory, or name a building, or a park after someone of note, the city will soon have a formal process.
City commissioners in October reviewed and tweaked a set of standard procedures and guidelines for naming, co-naming or renaming city amenities, including buildings, recreational areas, and other facilities operated by Wilton Manors. The policy and guidelines will be up for a vote at the November 12th City Commission meeting.
The move comes about five months after the city designated May 22nd as “Harvey Milk Day” in honor of the late gay rights icon after a proposal to name a residential street after Milk fell apart because the city didn’t have a naming policy.
Mayor Justin Flippen had proposed re-naming Northeast and Northwest 21st Court as “Harvey Milk Court,” but after much discussion, commissioners declined to make the street name change in May, saying the city first needed to establish a policy that would outline a procedure for making name changes.
“I think Justin’s request that we name a street after Harvey Milk kind of caught us by surprise. It wasn’t brought up by the community,” said Commissioner Gary Resnick. Resnick said wasn’t opposed to the idea of renaming a street after Milk. He was opposed to renaming the street because the city had no policy at the time.
“If your street name changes you may have to notify a lot of people who send you mail. Some of these things have a lot of practical implications, especially if you are running a home-based business,” Resnick added.
Flippen said he proposed the resolution last May because he wanted the city to honor Milk because of his significant civil rights contributions. His colleagues agreed on Milk’s societal contributions but not on the renaming process.
The new policy:
1. Requires an applicant, including city commissioners and city staff, to submit an application to the city for review.
2. Requires inclusion of written documentation of approval by next of kin of the person to be honored, if possible.
If the application pertains to a leisure services facility, the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board can review the application and make a recommendation to the City Commission.
If the application is for a public street, property owners who live within 300 feet of the street or who live on the street must be notified by mail of the date of the City Commission meeting when the item will be discussed.
Public input will be sought through no less than two City Commission meetings. Notification will be made through the city’s weekly email blast, the city’s monthly newsletter and social media.
The renaming will be confirmed by City resolution.
The city shall have final approval and absolute discretion to approve or deny any request for any reason.
In April, Commissioner Paul Rolli spoke against the street naming saying, “City property belongs to all the inhabitants of the city. It doesn’t belong to a couple of people. I think the first thing we do is create a process.”
“When it first came up, my recommendation was that we develop a policy for naming of all public property. I wanted the process to be transparent,” Rolli said.