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The City Council passed a resolution to change the name of the first city park to H. Phillip Venable Memorial Park during the City Council meeting on December 9, 2019.
This history of the park, previously known as Beirne Park, was recently brought to the attention of the City Council during the past year. During the late 1950s, the City acquired land from Dr. Howard Phillip Venable and his wife Katie W. Venable by the power of eminent domain with the intention of preventing the Venables from building their home in the City due to their race.
The Mayor and City Council determined that it is essential to acknowledge this past injustice and to take action to assure that both the public and city government remain aware of these events, starting with changing the name of the park.
The Mayor held a “Coffee with the Mayor” in November to open up a dialogue with the community on the topic, where descendants of Dr. Howard Phillip Venable requested the park be renamed as H. Phillip Venable Memorial Park. The City is planning a re-dedication of the park in 2020.