Denise Barreto.

Evanston’s Human Services Committee Monday night voted to recommend City Council approval of a new policy for naming parks and other facilities in the city.

The policy was developed by the Parks and Recreation Board after a request was received two years ago to rename Harbert Park along the North Shore Channel to honor a long-time neighborhood activist, Betty Payne.

Parks Board President Denise Barreto said board members discovered the city didn’t have a policy to address that question and over the months since developed the eight-page policy that was presented to the Human Services Committee.

The policy calls for proponents of the name change to submit a petition with at least 250 signatures of Evanston residents over the age of 18 within 90 days of receiving the petition forms from the parks department director.

The policy says proposals to rename parks “are not encouraged,” adding that “names that have become ingrained or widely accepted in the community should not be abandoned unless there are compelling reasons and strong public sentiment for doing so.”

The policy also sets out procedures for naming facilities and features within parks and what role major donations should have in consideration of a renaming.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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