The Metro Board of Parks and Recreation is considering whether to ask the Tennessee Historical Commission to rename North Nashville’s historic Hadley Park after deceased civil rights activist Kwame Lillard.
Lillard, who died last December, was known famously known as a Freedom Rider and former Nashville city council member. There’s been an ongoing push from some elected officials and community leaders to use the park as a way to honor his legacy.
But attempts to rename Hadley Park, in previous years, have been denied. It’s believed to have been named after the Hadley family, which owned a plantation on the land where the park was later created. Any renaming would eventually have to be approved by the state’s historical commission.
The most recent request was made by Metro Councilmember Sharon Hurt, who wants to change the name to Hadley-Lillard Park. The request has seen a mix of support and opposition from residents.
The Metropolitan Board of Parks and Recreation is seeking community input on a request to change the name of Hadley Park to Hadley-Lillard Park. Tonight, May 5th, an in-person community meetings is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. at Hadley Park Community Center. https://t.co/mA5owF913J pic.twitter.com/ighKybsJbS
— Metro Parks (@MetroParksNash) May 5, 2021
Metro Parks officials began a public feedback period in April to gauge whether they should support a potential name change.
The public is allowed to provide input by mail, email and at public meetings. The department asks that commenters clearly state their name and address and whether they are in favor or opposed to the name change.
- By mail: Metropolitan Board of Parks and Recreation, Post Office Box, Nashville, TN 37203 (mark ATTN: Hadley Park Name Change)
- By email, with subject line “Hadley Park,” to [email protected]
- By phone at 629-255-1200, extension 51200
“Kwame was my teacher, mentor and friend,” said Gary Burke, during a board meeting on Tuesday. “He was born in Florida and became a Nashville treasure.”
The Parks Board will be soliciting community feedback until June 8.
A meeting will also take place at Hadley Park Community Center in North Nashville at 6 p.m. Wednesday evening.