Council votes on new naming policy Wednesday
EVERETT - The City Council is expected to sign off on a new naming policy for historic buildings, public streets and other sites this week.
Under the new policy, name requests would have to be submitted to the mayor’s office and now be handed over to the planning department for review. The naming policy committee thought it would be less intimidating to have people submit requests to the planning department instead of the mayor’s office. Mayor Ray Stephanson disagreed.
The city hopes the new policy creates more transparency in the naming process.
When a request comes in and if it clears the review of the planning department, the historical commission would then conduct a public hearing and vote to forward the request to the City Council. The council would then conduct one more public hearing before making a final decision.
The policy allows requests to name any building, facility, natural feature or street, but historic landmarks should not be renamed.
Community figures can have places named after them if they enhanced the city’s quality of life or if they contributed significant money toward a facility, just like in the past. These people can be living at the time of the request or must be dead for at least a year if no longer alive.
The new policy also gives the City Council authority to rename buildings through resolution.
Since this time last year, there have been two requests submitted to the mayor’s office to rename public places. One was to rename the old City Hall after former mayor Bill Moore — the request that led the city to review and revise its naming policy. The second request came in June to rename the Northwest Neighborhood Park after late City Councilman Drew Nielsen.
The mayor’s office told the group seeking to rename the park to wait until the council adopted a new naming policy.
Nielsen, who helped restore the park, died in a May rafting accident.
The city has used its naming policy at least once when it renamed the downtown library reading room after Mark Nesse.
The resident-led effort last summer to rename the old City Hall after mayor Moore, though, drew resistance because the building is on Everett’s register of historic places. The naming policy highly discourages renaming buildings on the historic registry.
Last year, the City Council considered changing its naming policy to allow for the Moore proposal to go through.
The naming issue came up earlier this year and in response Council President Ron Gipson created a seven-person ad hoc committee to put together a new policy. The committee chewed over the policy in five meetings held earlier this summer.
The ad hoc committee included three council members, two historical commission members and two park board members.
The city’s old naming policy was adopted in 2007.
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