Ahoskie park changes name

Published 4:06 pm Tuesday, December 26, 2023

AHOSKIE – The name of one of Ahoskie’s parks has been changed.

At a special called meeting of the Ahoskie Town Council on Dec. 21, they voted unanimously to change No Man’s Land Park to Memorial Square on Main.

That park is located on Main Street at the railroad crossing.

Jennifer Bracy, interim Town Manager, said the name change was necessary in order for Ahoskie to move forward with applying for funding from T-Mobile’s Hometown Grant Program. The nationally known company has announced its plans to invest $25 million in 500 small rural towns over the next five years.

On its website, T-Mobile says they will “help fund projects that foster local connections, like technology upgrades, outdoor spaces, the arts, and community centers.”

“This name change is more of an aesthetics thing,” Bracy told the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald after the meeting. “The name No Man’s Land is bland and it does lead people to believe there’s a disagreement over who owns the property. The town owns the property. It’s been called No Man’s Land for a long, long time.”

During the meeting, Bracy said the Ahoskie Chamber of Commerce, on behalf of the town, had applied for a similar, park renovation grant in 2022.

“That grant was denied for several reasons, one of which was the name No Man’s Land,” Bracy said. “We were told that they [the grantor] wanted something a bit more descriptive, not something as vague as No Man’s Land.”

T-Mobile’s grant application is due by Dec. 31.

“If you approve this name change, we’ll be able to finalize all the paperwork with the application next week and submit it prior to the deadline,” Bracy noted.

She added that the $50,000 grant, if approved, would cover the amount needed for phase one of the renovation of that particular park. That renovation, Bracy said, includes tearing up and replacing all of the cement there as well as cutting down the trees and making safety upgrades.

It was noted prior to the discussion about the name change that Memorial Square on Main may just be temporary.

“You may want the public to be involved in that [name changing] decision,” Bracy said. “Later this winter or maybe in the spring, we can open this up to the public for them to submit names for the park. Ultimately, that decision is up to you.”

Councilman Charles Reynolds, during the discussion about the matter at hand, inquired about the ownership of that particular parcel of land.

“The reason I ask that question is that when I was a teenager growing up here I was told it was called No Man’s Land because nobody could find a [property] title to it,” Reynolds said.

Bracy said she came up with the Memorial Square on Main name due to the fact that the park currently has memorials and brick pavers dedicated to military veterans. She added there are other non-military memorials there as well.

As for the brick pavers currently at the park, Bracy suggested they be removed from ground level and placed on a wall.

“It would be more like a memorial wall there rather than having those specialized bricks on the ground, which could keep them cleaner and possibly not broken,” she said. “There could be a memorial wall for the military veterans and a wall for others who have been memorialized.”

Mayor Weyling White asked would it be possible to add to those walls in the event more individuals come forward to purchase a memorial brick. Those bricks, available through the town, are priced at $50 each.

“We should be able to add to the walls,” Bracy answered. “I don’t think there would be any issue with that. I guess it depends on how wide and tall we make it.”

On a motion from Reynolds, the Council agreed to the temporary name change to Memorial Square on Main.

“I’m hopeful we’ll be one of the grant recipients during the first quarter of 2024,” Bracy concluded.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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