Council decides not to rename Hooper Park to commemorate Reagan visit

Jul 5 2012 - 6:43pm


The Sept. 8, 1982, commemorative edition of the Standard-Examiner features images of Ronald Reagan's visit to Hooper. (Standard-Examiner file photo)
The Sept. 8, 1982, commemorative edition of the Standard-Examiner features images of Ronald Reagan's visit to Hooper. (Standard-Examiner file photo)

HOOPER -- The people -- at least some of them -- have spoken, so Hooper Park will remain Hooper Park.

Several people attended a recent city council meeting to let council members know they do not want the name of the city's oldest park changed.

After hearing the residents' objections and being presented with about 200 names on petitions, the council unanimously voted to forgo the idea of changing the park's name to Reagan Park to commemorate President Ronald Reagan's visit to Hooper on Sept. 10, 1982.

After Councilman Shawn Beus proposed the name change and his idea met with some favorable discussion among council members, the proposal was tentatively passed.

At a subsequent meeting, a resolution was presented to council members for their signatures to make the name change official.

But a lot happened before the actual presentation of the resolution.

Several people called city officials and voiced their opposition to the name change, numerous letters of opposition were sent to the Standard-Examiner, and people went door to door with petitions opposing the change.

Vickie Fowers, a former member of the council, said, "After talking to several people about changing the name of the park, I could see how upset everyone I spoke with was. Knowing that the city council listens to its citizens, I started a petition for those against the name change of the Hooper Park."

She said the petition started at a 4-H horse show in West Haven and mushroomed from there.

Fowers said she feels it's a fair representation of the entire city, as the folder holding the petition had Citizens Against Renaming the Hooper Park written on the front. Also, she said, those who went door to door live in different areas of the city.

"There is a lot of pride in ownership of the Hooper Park," Fowers said. "A lot of people and organizations have vested their time, equipment and money making it a great place. It was a great place before Reagan came, and it continues to be great."

Beus said he just wanted to teach a little history, get people engaged in the city, increase community pride and remind everyone how people rallied as a community when Reagan came to town.

He said he felt renaming the park was a way to achieve that without spending a significant amount of taxpayers' money.

It's possible he achieved his goal.

"With all the renewed interest by our citizens with this idea," Beus quipped, "I just might suggest renames more often."

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