Local News

Fayetteville Residents Fight Over Park Name

Posted December 11, 2006 6:40 p.m. EST

— Some residents living near near a new city park fear the name chosen for the site could mean lower property values and more crime. So, they are petitioning the City Council to change the name.

Inspired by a river in southwest Scotland, the poet Robert Burns gushed about Bonnie Doone more than two centuries ago. But in Fayetteville, the Bonnie Doone neighborhood is synonymous with high crime and low income for many residents.

"Anytime you hear the name 'Bonnie Doone,' usually the first thought in your mind is not a pleasant one," local resident Jim Popp said.

Fayetteville annexed the Bonnie Doone neighborhood about 10 years ago, and residents have been working ever since to polish the community's image. The crime rate in the neighborhood is no higher than in other sections of the city, police said.

Still, Popp said he fears naming a city park across from his home in the Kornbow Lake neighborhood Bonnie Doone Park could hurt area property values. So, he got 36 of his neighbors to sign a petition to change the name to Blanton Road Park.

"It's not in Bonnie Doone. It doesn't border Bonnie Doone," he said.

But Bonnie Doone resident Pecolia Jarrell said a name change would undermine the neighborhood's efforts to revitalize itself.

"We have looked forward to this park coming with the idea in mind that it would be Bonnie Doone Park," Jarrell said.

City Councilman D.J. Haire represents the neighborhood and was prepared to consider the name change at Monday night's meeting.

"If there is to be a name change, let it be as inclusive of all the surrounding communities as possible," Haire said.