By ZEINAB NAJM
Sunday Times Newspapers
TRENTON — The city took the next step in the process of properly identifying Monguagon Memorial Park by approving requests made by the city’s cultural commission.
During its June 20 meeting, the City Council unanimously receive and placed on file City Administrator Dean Creech’s response to the cultural commission’s letter of intent regarding the park.
The city clerk also was requested to forward a copy of the response to the commission.
Creech accompanied his June 8 letter with responses to the four suggestions the commission made to the city in May.
Requests included erecting a permanent sign, typical in size and design for municipal parks, on the site, identifying its name at the city’s expense. Also, requested was that the park be permanently added to the list of 15 other city parks on the city’s website.
Creech said the city plans to replace all park signs over the next two to three years, and that this could be easily addressed with a uniform sign at that time.
The commission requested permission to install a permanent educational plaque at the site, to provide historical information regarding the origin of Monguagon Township’s name.
Creech said the commission is welcome to pursue proposed verbiage and design to address the vision.
“When the verbiage, design, costs and placement have been approved by the commission, the Potawatomi Nation and the recreation director, the full proposal can be presented to council for requested approval and review,” Creech said.
The final request from the commission was that a new resolution be drafted and adopted so the parcel can be declared a permanent green space.
Creech said he doesn’t recommend the request of that motion.
“By and large, they’re all pretty easily done,” he said. “Probably the only one I would not recommend pursuing is a supplemental motion or resolution that would declare the parcel as a permanent green space and prohibiting the addition of playground equipment, playscapes, and ball courts with the exception of park benches.
“I don’t think there’s an anticipated issue with changing the property in that way, and it also would have to go back to a voter approval if we’re ever going to unload the parcel or put it up for sale.”
Creech also said that in terms of placement of playscapes and equipment, the city shouldn’t tie the hand of the recreation department or anybody else.
“Due to the fact that this parcel is restricted and the city would need voter approval for sale of the property, I feel this request is unnecessary,” Creech said. “Further, as times change so do the vision and priorities of the community. Putting another redundant restriction on the property via resolution serves little purpose since the resolution can always be undone by a new vote of council.”
Councilwoman Wendy Pate asked if the uniform signage for Monguagon Memorial Park could be done during the first round of signage for the city, since the park has not been recognized for such a long time.
“I think the last discussion we had, if I’m not mistaken is we’re going to try to do them all on the sooner side, too, in one fell swoop,” Mayor Steven Rzeppa said.
Creech added that the city has the three-year plan, but doesn’t plan on taking three years to actually have the uniform signage replacement completed at all city parks, including the addition of the Monguagon Memorial Park signage.
The park land, bordered by Harrison Avenue, Edsel Street and Parkside Street, is named after Potawatomi Chief Monguagon.
Monguagon Memorial Park was one of five city parks which was officially named by the City Council in resolution 58-1, but remains unknown to a majority of residents and visitors, a letter of intent from the commission said.
Chief Monguagon was an advocate for and provided assistance to the first European settlers to the area in the mid-18th century.
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at [email protected].)