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Rincon to name park after Giles
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Rincon’s 7th Street/Atlantic Avenue Park will be going by a new name soon.

City council voted Tuesday to change the name of the park to Peter Giles Jr., in honor of a longtime community supporter and veteran.

Council members weighed what name to choose — someone from the neighborhood or after a member of the family who sold the land to the city for the park.

“Personally, I’d like to stick with someone from the community,” council member Reese Browher said. “Mr. Giles has been a stellar citizen for 84 years.”

“I’ll be honest — that’s the first name that came to mind,” said Mayor Ken Lee.

Giles and several community members opposed naming the park after the family that sold the property to the city.

“They were very upset with the recommendation,” council member Levi Scott said.

Another suggestion was to name the park after John H. Day Sr. Scott said he could support that recommendation.

Scott said he anticipated buying the land himself before approaching the city about its availability.

“We worked hard trying to get it,” he said. “It fell through a hole for a while. I would like to see it named that someone in the community can relate to.”

Council members also received letters in support of naming the park after the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Council member Ken Baxley said such a suggestion was fine with him but the city has traditionally named its facilities after local people.

Giles served in the U.S. Navy during World War II and was grand marshal of the MLK Jr. Day Parade in Springfield in 2008.

“I don’t think we can do any better than to honor you for what you have done for the city and our country,” Lee said to Giles.