Fluvanna Review

Confederate Park in Palmyra. Photo by Tricia JohnsonCounty asks residents for name suggestions

A tiny park in Palmyra, home to a memorial honoring the Confederate soldiers who died in the Civil War, is suddenly rather nameless now that its unofficial title, Confederate Park, has been called into question.
After a white gunman shot and killed nine black people in a historic church in South Carolina on June 17, the fallout swept over the South as some began to call for the removal of Confederate flags and symbols.
Fluvanna County is no exception, as the first meeting of the Board of Supervisors since the massacre, held on Wednesday afternoon (July 1), had on its agenda a close look at the county’s so-called Confederate Park.
Over a year ago new signage went up in many of the county’s spots of interest. At that time, said County Administrator Steve Nichols, staff considered what name to put on the park’s sign. They couldn’t find any records of a formal naming process, Nichols said, but had heard the park colloquially referred to as Confederate Park. When they asked the Fluvanna Historical Society what name to put on the sign, Nichols said, it recommended Confederate Park.
Chairperson Mozell Booker, who put the issue onto the Board’s agenda, began the discussion, which remained polite and respectful throughout, by clarifying that supervisors were not looking to change the park itself. “At no time are we thinking about doing anything to the park,” she said. “We’re not thinking about moving anything… The monument that we have there, the Confederate monument, is a part of our history. It’s Fluvanna’s history, it’s my history, and that’s something that we’re not looking to change.”
“Now what I in particular, speaking for myself, want [is] to repurpose the park,” she continued. “When we were doing the signage in the county about a year or so [ago] the park was named the Confederate Park. That’s the only thing in the park, so it’s pretty natural that the signage would say Confederate Park. Since then I’ve been thinking about repurposing it so that we could have other monuments in the park. We could have a monument for our veterans of foreign war, [etc.]… It would be a park that would be inviting to everyone.”
For example, Booker said, the Emancipation Proclamation is now more than 150 years old. She has had conversations, she said, about having a monument at the park in honor of the Emancipation Proclamation. “It would be very appropriate in my own opinion if we could repurpose the park…[if] we could put some other monuments there,” she said.
“Is this the right time?” she asked rhetorically, considering the dialogue sweeping the South. “It’s always the right time to talk about Fluvanna County. I know it’s a lot about the Confederate flag and all that, and we understand – we’re mature adults. This is just as good a time as any other… I think it’s a good time for us to put the discussion out there and then we can have the citizens give us their input.”
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Ian Jackson, of I and J Home Builders talked to the Lake Monticello Owners’ Association Board at Thursday (June 28) night’s board meeting about more than 30 acres he hopes to buy on the Lake side of Route 618. Jackson said he plans to build homes that would cost between $190,000 and $200,000.

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The newly opened Panda Chinese restaurant has a lot going for it, food-wise that is. If you’re one of the ones looking for décor and ambiance, Chinese red walls and gold Oriental fans, that is not what Panda is all about. The restaurant offers take-out, a few tables set up for eating in, and catering for small or large parties. It is a place for the true Chinese food lover.

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Chris VanSlooten, FUMA aquatics director.More than 2,000 swimmers and their families are coming to Fork Union for two days of racing this weekend.

Fork Union Military Academy is opening its doors to the Jefferson Swim League for its annual swim championship July 27 and 28, said Chris VanSlooten, FUMA aquatics director. Add a comment

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Photos by Christina Dimeo GusemanThe little park in Palmyra that contains a monument to Fluvanna’s Confederate soldiers has apparently never received a formal name, and its colloquial name – Confederate Park – has raised some eyebrows recently.
At the last meeting of the Fluvanna County Board of Supervisors, Chairperson Mozell Booker suggested officially adopting a different name, such as Memorial Park or Monument Park. Supervisors decided to seek input from Fluvanna residents before making any decisions.
The Fluvanna Review asked various community members what they thought about the issue.
Rhon Williams: I think they should leave it what it’s named, because you’d be changing history. And whether you find that history offensive or you don’t, it is still history, and when we change history, we hide the truth from people.
Nelson McDaniel: I think they should keep it the way it is. It’s all I’ve known since I was a kid. It’s not about racism or anything.
Ginia Wood: Keep it the way it is. It’s just a name.
Cynthia Tolbert: I like Memorial Park because it’s appealing. I have an idea of why they’re thinking of changing the name, so it’ll appeal to everybody, not offend anybody – that’s very sensitive these days. Memorials always make you think of what our country’s gone through and the people that have served and it makes you want to pay homage to them.
Richard Payne: I think I’d leave it like it is. The monument itself honors the Confederate soldiers, and so therefore the name Confederate Park seems appropriate.
Ellen Lull: I’m not sure that I want it to be politically correct. It’s a Confederate Park. I don’t like politically correct terms, period. I’d have to really think about this, whether I would want to agree that we could change the name.
Marion Johnson: I guess so – a change would be good. Everything else changes. It would be nice to put more memorials in the park. It would be better for the community, something that they can go out and see, something different instead of sticking to the same thing.
Kristin Fields: We can’t rewrite history. It’s one thing to fly a flag over a state capitol – it’s another thing to change the name of a park that’s been there for decades commemorating a part of our history. As a reminder of our history it can serve as a warning when you stumble upon it.
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