MATTHEWS – Town commissioners unanimously voted to name the newest park “Rice Park” after a lengthy discussion at their April 22 meeting.
Board members were also given the option by the Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resource Department Advisory Committee of naming the park on Rice Road after Sam and Viola Boyd or Selma Burke.
The advisory committee recommended commissioners name it “Boyd Park.”
Rice Park honors the Rice family who owned most of the land in the area dating back to the 1700s. It also was picked because of its geographical location on Rice Road.
But several commissioners grappled with the decision, saying the town needs to honor the Boyds.
Burke, a renowned artist who was the creator of the bronze plaque replicated on the back of the dime, already has a street named after her and she created a statue that currently sits in the lobby at town hall.
“I’m struggling with this because we have three very good recommendations,” Commissioner John Higdon said.
Sam Boyd represented Crestdale on the Matthews School Board in the 1960s, and the family, who have and are longtime community advocates, used their own money to fund providing water service into the Crestdale Community when it was an unincorporated area of Matthews.
Commissioner Kress Query said the town should honor the Boyd family with a tribute in the Crestdale area of town. Query was the mayor of Matthews when water service was brought to Crestdale. Sam Boyd was referred to as the mayor of Crestdale at the time.
“I do want something nice named in their name,” Query said. “I do have wonderful feelings for Sam and Viola. He and I worked to get water down to the community. He was always there when we needed something. I would like to see something closer (to Crestdale) named for them.”
Commissioner Chris Melton wondered if the town could rename the local library in the couple’s honor.
“There are several libraries in Mecklenburg County that are named after people,” Melton said. “I don’t see anything wrong with renaming the library. There are a lot of different things that we can think about that can be of significance.’’