Fort Worth recreation center could be renamed after Atatiana Jefferson

A proposal to rename Fort Worth’s Rec Center has been underway for more than a year and could be put to a vote in Congress on Tuesday, January 10.

Fort Worth, Texas — A proposal to rename the Fort Worth Community Center has been underway for over a year. But now people are speaking out against it.

One of them is longtime Fort Worth resident Marcus Graves. He said he is very supportive of his family. Atatiana Jefferson I want the precious nursing home to remain as it is.

“I am 100% against it,” said Marcus Graves. “Hillside Recreation Center saved a lot of people when we were growing up in that community.”

Graves cried out from his hospital bed. So he enlisted others to speak at the Fort He Worth Council meeting, who plan to vote Tuesday night on renaming the Hillside Recreation Center.

Alderman Chris Nettles started working on the name change proposal over a year ago. Nettles told his WFAA that he started his work after hearing from people in his district.

“We are proposing to rename the Hillside Community Center to the Atatiana Kerr Jefferson at Hillside Community Center,” said Nettles.

Outside, the Rec Center has a new playground for parents to bring their kids. The center offers free programs and programs with minimal fees if families can afford them.

Nettles stands ready to hear alternative proposals from the public and fellow council members when it comes to Hillside Recreation Center. Now that he’s learned of other names people want to consider, he’s also encouraging residents to reach out to city leaders.

“There is a long list of names that the City of Fort Worth should honor in this city. One of the guidelines is that when renaming a center or something like that, it’s common for city property to be deceased,” Nettles said.

“I don’t necessarily agree with that, but that is the policy and procedure of the City of Fort Worth. But there are workarounds we can do. There’s a room where they can go over the door when they go in. So it’s not all over,” he continued.

James Smith said, “I would be ecstatic if they voted for doing so.”

Smith is one of the strong supporters of Hillside’s name change.

In October 2019, it was Smith who called the police to check on the welfare of Atatiana’s home. It ended tragically after ex-cop Aaron Dean shot a 28-year-old college student through a window.

The city has since declared October 12 Tay Day in Fort Worth, and council members voted to rename a street in Fort Worth after Atatiana Jefferson.

“This didn’t happen overnight. The idea for the motion has been around for more than two years. In fact, it was supposed to be named last October, but the city won’t wait until after the trial. I wanted to wait and then execute,” Smith said.

Mr. Smith signed up for the speaking portion of the council meeting where council members listen to citizens’ concerns.

“It’s not about the name,” Smith said. “It’s about memories of a tragedy in the city that I personally never put under the rug. The City of Fort Worth will never forget Atatiana Jefferson.”

Smith is one of several who hope to sway one of the first council votes of the new year. Fort Worth recreation center could be renamed after Atatiana Jefferson

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