Despite being billed as a compromise among interested community members, the proposed name of a new Mableton park was taken off the table Tuesday. But the Cobb commissioner who oversees the area said she believes a new name could earn approval when commissioners gather again near the end of this month.
Commissioner Lisa Cupid says she tabled a measure to put the name “Chattahoochee Riverline Park” on the nearly 103 acres of county property east of Mableton Parkway between Discovery Boulevard and the Chattahoochee River due to the emergence of another possible name: “Discovery Riverline Park.”
“I have a community meeting at the end of each month, and during that (last meeting the Discovery Riverline) name surfaced as a preferred name amongst attendees,” Cupid said following Tuesday’s meeting. “It seemed like a reasonable consideration, and it’s something I didn’t talk to commissioners and staff about − I wanted to do that before we had that debate up there on the dais. I think we just all want to be sensitive to the different perspectives in consideration to the first name (of the park).”
The county purchased the land in 1990 with the intention of preserving Civil War earthworks on site and creating a new park.
County staff last year proposed naming the new park “Mableton Discovery Park” based on a recommendation from the county’s recreation board. It would have replaced “Johnston’s River Line,” which is how the property was listed in the 2016 project list for the county’s 1 percent sales tax program, which set aside $1 million for the development of the new park. Commissioners approved a master plan for the park in March 2018, but setting a name was tabled over whether the park should keep the name of Gen. Joseph Johnston, who commanded troops in the area to fight against Union Maj. Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman’s march to Atlanta.
The property has some Civil War earthworks from Johnston’s deployment, including the remains of an earthen, two-level fortification called a shoupade. When commissioners sought to change the name, some were in favor of removing the Confederate general’s name from the park, while others thought it would ignore the historical significance of the area, possibly affecting the Civil War tourists that the park could draw.
But Cupid believes “Discovery Riverline Park” could be the moniker that satisfies all interested parties.
“I think it’s a reasonable name, considering the location, and it does keep the term 'Riverline' in it, which was the greatest significance. ‘Chattahoochee’ was to mark that asset (the river) being back there to differentiate between other parks, but having the name ‘Discovery’ also differentiates it and points to the location where it is,” Cupid said. “And the term 'Riverline,' though it refers to the Civil War elements that are back there, it also does have some implication toward the river being back there also.”
Proponents of the Discovery Riverline name spoke in front of commissioners before Cupid pulled the measure from the board’s consent agenda.
“We felt it was very important for Mableton to be part of the name. Since that name was changed to a proposed name of Chattahoochee River Line Park, we’re not in agreement with that,” said Ray Thomas, president of the Legacy at the River Line homeowners association and Mableton Improvement Coalition board member, before urging commissioners to consider “Discovery Riverline.”
Robin Meyer, chairwoman of Mableton Improvement Coalition, said the Discovery name was needed for several reasons, with one being the existence of the nearby Riverline Park, a Smyrna city park that has a Mableton address.
“Putting Chattahoochee in front of Riverline is not emphatic enough to get the average listener to distinguish between those two park names,” Meyer said. “Putting ‘Discovery’ or ‘Discover’ in front of Riverline is enough − it’s a different kind of name (and) it causes one to perk up their ears.”
Commissioners could see the park naming issue come back before them at their 7 p.m. meeting March 26.