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Friday, December 4, 2020 by Elizabeth Pagano
City to replace five more names dedicated to Confederate history and white supremacy
In line with a resolution that called for the renaming of city assets whose names were associated with white supremacy and Confederate history, the city is moving forward with five more name changes.
A Dec. 2 memo from Chief Equity Officer Brion Oaks to City Council identified the five assets as Metz Park, Metz Pool, Dixie Drive, Confederate Street and Plantation Road.
Oaks’ memo is in response to a second resolution that Council passed in July, asking the city manager “to choose a cohort of at least five, but no more than ten, city assets with latent Confederate history” and move through a renaming process twice yearly until “every city asset latent with Confederate and white supremacist history has gone through it.”
“The city is moving forward in the process to take down tributes to the Confederacy. I support us doing this work both swiftly and deliberately, with communities most impacted by white supremacy at the table during the decision-making process,” Council Member Greg Casar said.
A 2018 report identified the namesake for Metz park and pool as Hamilton M. Metz, a Confederate veteran and former school board member. After a July vote by City Council, Metz Recreation Center is now named Rodolfo “Rudy” Mendez Recreation Center. East Austin’s Metz Elementary has not been renamed, but is scheduled to close permanently.
Dixie Drive in District 2, Confederate Street in District 9, and Plantation Road in districts 5 and 8 were also identified as “high priority” renamings. The 2018 report identified 13 high priority renamings in all.
According to the memo, the city will now convene a virtual working group of “community stakeholders across City Council districts most directly impacted by the trauma of the institutions of colonialism, slavery and white supremacy.” The group is slated to convene in early 2021 to contemplate options for renaming, with a staff update scheduled for spring 2021.
Photo by Google Maps.
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Key Players & Topics In This Article
Austin City Council: The Austin City Council is the body with legislative purview over the City of Austin. It offers policy direction, while the office of the City Manager implements administrative actions based on those policies. Until 2012, the body contained seven members, including the city's Mayor, all elected at-large. In 2012, City of Austin residents voted to change that system and now 10 members of the Council are elected based on geographic districts. The Mayor continues to be elected at-large.