The Hendersonville Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted 11-1 with one abstention to defer a resolution renaming Drakes Creek Park to the David J. LeMarbre Athletic Complex at Drakes Creek Park until the second meeting in June.
Ward 1 Alderman Peg Petrelli voted no with Ward 4 Alderman Steve Brown, sponsor of the bill, abstaining.
This resolution was unanimously recommended by the Parks Board and was recommended 2-1 by the General Committee.
LeMarbre worked for the City for 36 years, including 23 years as parks director before retiring in 2015. He came out of retirement to work for the City twice. In 2018, he served as the interim parks director for a few months. In 2020, he came back to work as the interim city administrator before resigning in February 2021.
“One reason I think our parks are so full is because of the gentleman named in this resolution,” said Brown.
Ward 6 Alderman Eddie Roberson offered a substitute motion to create an ad hoc committee to create criteria within six months for renaming facilities in the City as there are currently no criteria regulations, only procedural ones, according to Roberson.
His ad hoc committee would be chaired by the new chief of operations, Jesse Eckenroth. It would include Ward 1 Alderman Peg Petrelli, vice-mayor, as liaison to BOMA; a member of the Sumner County Historical Commission; the Sumner County Poet Laureate; the chairman of the Planning Commission; a representative from the League of Women Voters; and two City residents appointed by the mayor.
“My substitute motion is by no means an attempt to besmirch or impugn the name and career of Mr. LeMarbre,” he said.
He pointed out that changing the name of the park could set a precedent for other name change requests.
“First, we need to establish a policy that will guide this and future BOMAs when considering such controversial changes,” Roberson said.
Roberson pointed out that the renaming of Batey Farms Park and Durham Farms Park was on the horizon and that having an established policy would remove personalities from the process and could lower the public temperament with these requests.
Ward 3 Alderman Russ Edwards said that he would probably support Roberson’s motion as an ordinance, but that he would like some time to think about it.
“I don’t want anybody to think I have any motivation of putting this off forever,” Edwards said.
It was decided that Roberson will make his motion into an ordinance in the meantime that will come through the committee before being voted on by BOMA at the second meeting in June.