What’s in a name?
Quite a bit – in the judgment of Elon’s town council, which has come up with a whole slate of new rules for naming buildings and other municipal facilities.
The council approved these provisions during a regularly-scheduled meeting on Monday in order to lay down a standard procedure for assigning new appellations to municipal facilities.
Under this policy, a member of the council or Elon’s municipal staff can propose a new moniker for a particular building, a room or a wing within a larger structure, or some other “town-owned assets” such as an open space, greenway, or park. This name, which must be accepted by a majority of the council, can allude to geographic location, a business, or a historic event. It may also pay tribute to a particular group or individual – although in the latter case, the facility’s proposed eponym must adhere to a short list of criteria.
According to the new policy, a facility’s namesake must have worked for the town or held an elected office for at least 20 years. They can also have served the community as a volunteer “with or on behalf of” the town for the same period. Another route to this form of immorality is to make a “significant” financial contribution to the town, which the policy goes on to define as having covered “at least 51 percent” of the “initial or reconstruction cost” of the asset to be named.
In his initial remarks to the council regarding this policy, Elon’s town manager Richard Roedner didn’t mention any particular reason for broaching the matter at Monday’s regularly-scheduled gathering.
“As a community, we have named things in the past without any guidelines or protocols,” he said at the time. “But in talking to mayor [Emily] Sharpe, we thought that there should be some policy in place that offers reasonable guidance.”