HARVEY, Ill. (WLS) --Residents are upset after a park in south suburban Harvey was renamed for the sitting park district commissioner, replacing the previous honoree Civil Rights hero Medgar Evers.
The move is supported by some but has upset many, including seniors.
An air of celebration greeted supporters of Harvey Park Commissioner Eric Patterson, who after officials business of the Park Board concluded unveiled what he called the honor of a lifetime.
"I'm honored to think that my colleagues think enough of me to say there should be a park named after me," Patterson said.
But the park was already named for Medgar Evers, the 37-year-old NAACP field worker who was assassinated by a white man as he fought for voting rights and the integration of the University of Mississippi in 1963.
"You can't replace him and I'm not trying to replace him, I'm just trying to add on to his greatness," Patterson said.
The Harvey Park Board came up with the idea of renaming the park. Tonight was a night to celebrate, he said, for Patterson and for the receipt of a clean report from his board's auditor. Harvey Park Department's bookkeeping had drawn an investigation from the state treasurer's office.
But some residents are not happy with the renaming.
"It should not be done. He's an unsung hero to all of us," said Paul Hansborough.
The Park Board is a separately elected municipal order of government in Harvey with a long-standing rivalry with the city government. Park Board President McCaskill ran for mayor and lost to longtime mayor Eric Kellogg in 2014.
McCaskill said there are plans to name a new city computer lab after Medgar Evers, but there are no official plans and it wasn't discussed at Wednesday night's meeting.