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Mary Carey Starts Petition to Rename Emancipation Park

Posted: Updated: Oct 25, 2017 03:59 PM
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) -

A nonpartisan community group that came together in the lead-up to the Unite the Right rally is demanding Charlottesville City Council reverse its renaming of Lee Park.

The Unity Coalition says the park's new name is creating more division in the community.

The group and petition author, Mary Carey, are collecting signatures on a petition and online, trying to force city council to rename the park.

Now, the Unity Coalition is collecting signatures on paper petitions and online to push City Council to reverse its decision to rename Lee Park and select a less-divisive name.

In June, City Council selected Emancipation Park, despite that name never showing up on the official list of recommended renaming options collected by a community survey.

Councilor Kristin Szakos says that was an inadvertent error in the city's rush to rename the park.

Carey's petition calls that decision "insulting, disrespectful, hurtful, and heartless".

“What this naming represents is emblematic and representative of a lot of things that happen with City Council where they do things irrespective of the will of the people,” said Lawrence Gaughan of the Unity Coalition. 

“The fact that there was an error in the process, we felt at that time, was not a reason for us not to do our job, which was to make that decision,” said Kristin Szakos.

The coalition says it has collected several hundred signatures on paper so far.