Charlottesville launches online survey to rename downtown parks

Published: Mar. 6, 2018 at 1:07 PM EST
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The City of Charlottesville is seeking community input on the renaming of two downtown parks that have been a source of controversy in recent years.

As part of a

that forced the city to remove tarps shrouding statues of Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, Emancipation and Justice parks are up for new names.

The parks, formerly known as Lee and Jackson parks, were

in June of 2017 after a contentious city council meeting.

Proponents for renaming the parks argued that Lee and Jackson Parks led to racial tension in the city, reflecting on a history of slavery in Virginia.

At that time, options for Justice Park included Court Square Park, Courthouse Park, the Commons, and Memory Park; and options for Lee Park included Community Park, Central Park, Market Street Park, and Festival Park.

The move came just a few months after the city's

to remove the Robert E. Lee statue from what was then Lee Park, which, later in the year, prompted the "Unite the Right" rally that turned to deadly violence in the city on Aug. 12.

However, since the city's vote to remove the statue, a temporary injunction was granted to block the city from following through with that decision, and, in the most recent ruling in that lawsuit, the Lee statue was declared a war memorial, which prohibits it from being removed under Virginia law.

Also in that lawsuit, the judge ruled that the city was within its authority to rename Jackson Park to Justice Park, but suggested that the city's citizens again have a say on names for the parks.


has been launched to take suggestions on a potential new name for Emancipation Park and on whether the name of Justice Park should be changed or not.

According to a release, names included in the survey are all ones that were previously submitted to the city.

However, the names Lee, Jackson and Emancipation will not be considered.

The survey is open between March 6 and 28

, or the survey can be taken by phone by calling (434) 970-3109.