Naming and Renaming of Public Parks

BPRD Park Naming Petition Form

Bismarck Parks and Recreation District Policy and Procedure

Park Board Approved 2/20/2020


The purpose of this policy is to establish a procedure for the naming of new parks and the renaming of existing parks.  Additionally, this policy provides guidance to ensure that parks are easily identified and given names that are consistent with the values and character of the neighborhood and community served.

This process applies to parks owned by the Bismarck Park and Recreation District (“BPRD”).  Different considerations and process may apply to parks managed but not owned by the BPRD.

Naming and Renaming Considerations and Criteria

It is the policy of the BPRD to use the following considerations and criteria when naming or renaming public parks:

  • A name with neighborhood, geographic, or common usage identification, including natural or geological features;
  • A name having historical, cultural and social significance for generations to come;
  • A name to encourage a strong and positive image;
  • A name to memorialize or commemorate people, organizations, places or events that are of enduring importance to the community or the nation;
  • Naming may be considered based on the provision of significant funding that underwrites the cost of renovation or construction of BPRD property. This may include monetary gifts or grants that leverage federal, state and local funding for such projects or a significant donation of land;

The intent of naming is for permanent recognition. The renaming of parks is strongly discouraged. It is recommended that efforts to change a name be subject to the most critical examination so as not to diminish the original justification for the name, discount the value of the prior contributors, or otherwise adversely affect the surrounding neighborhood and community.

The process of naming and renaming of parks often requires significant resources in terms of signs, maps, and literature. In addition, excessive name changing can be the source of confusion to the public.

Naming Procedure:

Neighborhood parks that are constructed under the Neighborhood Park and Open Space Policy shall be named according to the established policy and associated park development agreement for the naming of the park.  All other new parks will be named by the process of staff evaluating names based on the considerations and criteria in this policy and bringing forward a recommended name to the Board of Park Commissioners (Board) for their review and approval.

Renaming Procedure

Renaming applications may be submitted by any individual or group within the boundaries of the BPRD. Applicants must follow the process outlined below and refer to the considerations and criteria section of this policy to ensure that the request meets the criteria for proposed names.  Details of the process include:

  1. Petitioners must deliver written notification to the BPRD Administrative Office at the address below. The notification shall include reasons for the request.
    • Board of Park Commissioners
    • c/o Executive Director of Bismarck Parks and Recreation District
    • 400 East Front Avenue
    • Bismarck, ND 58504
  2. Petitioner must formally file the completed petition with the Board of Park Commissioners (“Board”) at the above address within ninety (90) days of the initial written notification, unless the Executive Director grants in writing additional time for submitting the completed petition. The petition must meet the following criteria:
  3. The petition shall state the reasons for the name change and the proposed new name.
  4. The petition shall contain a description and/or map depiction of the boundaries of the park to be renamed.
  5. The petition must have a minimum of 300 signatures of people, 18 years or older, living within the boundaries of the BPRD.
  6. The petition must legibly show the name, address, telephone number, and signature of each signer.
  7. Once the petition has been submitted, the supporting documents will be reviewed to confirm that the criteria are met. The petition then will be referred to the Board for review.  If the Board determines the petition justifies further consideration, the Board may initiate the process as outlined below.
  • Phase I: Upon approval from the Board, the public will have 45 days to submit their support or opposition to the renaming of the park to BPRD.  The neighborhood surrounding the park that is subject to the renaming request will be notified.
  • Phase II: At the end of the 45-day comment period, comments of opposition and support will be reviewed and summarized by staff.  The review and summary will be presented to the Board for consideration.   The Board may hold a public hearing.  If approved by the majority of the Board, the park will be renamed.  The Board will not accept a petition for renaming the same park for a period of 15 years.