City council approves naming Sacramento skatepark after Tyre Nichols

ByNakylah Carter ABCNews logo
Wednesday, March 29, 2023
City council approves naming Sacramento skatepark after Tyre Nichols
A screen at the entrance of Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church displays the celebration of life for Tyre Nichols on Feb. 1, 2023 in Memphis, Tenn.

Almost three months after the death of Tyre Nichols, a California skatepark will be named after the Sacramento native.

The Sacramento City Council voted unanimously 9-0 to approve the naming Tuesday afternoon. The City of Sacramento's Parks and Community Enrichment Commission had unanimously voted March 2 to send the naming idea to the city council for its final approval, with overall planning still in its early phases.

"Tyre Nichols has a strong connection to the skate park at Regency Park and spent numerous hours of his youth skating and building friendships there," the commission's discussion item states. "The tragedy of his death has elevated his name to national significance and as such underscores his connection and contribution to Sacramento, the community of North Natomas and Regency Park."

Nichols, 29, died ten days into the year, three days after he was allegedly beaten by five Memphis police officers after a traffic stop.

Nichols' mother RowVaughn Wells, and stepfather Rodney Wells have recounted how skateboarding was one of their late son's passions.

Now, since the Regency Park's skate park currently does not have a name, the commission has said it sees this as an opportunity to honor the skateboarder.

"The mayor and I have worked on this, and we believe that this park needs to be named after Tyre for the light of future generations and how we can be better as a nation. So that he is what we need to strive for, as somebody who was the light when he walked into the room. The smiling face and somebody who brought people together," Sacramento City Councilwoman Lisa Kaplan during a March 2 meeting.

A bronze plaque is also set to be featured on a concrete pad at the skatepark, city officials said.

"I just wanted to say, Regency Park is more than just a skate park to those who love Tyre," Angelina Paxton, a close friend to Nichols, said during the meeting earlier this month. "It is an extension of him. It is where most of us spent the best times of our life with him, and a place that Tyre reminisces about in every conversation he had, and all of his friends I know can vouch for that."

The commission discussion item details that although the nomination is under the one-year timeframe, the facility's naming policy provides an exception in cases with "special circumstance, need or opportunity," allowing the early submission.

According to the discussion item, the city's facility naming policy allows for facilities to be named for historical significance, distinct developmental features, neighborhood, community, or access streets, or an individual who has contributed substantially to the community or the facility, with priority for a deserving local individual.

"In this case, the public outpour and support for Tyre Nichols and his family has coalesced support for immediately naming this skate park in his honor, before the usual one-year time frame stated in the policy," the discussion item stated.

Around Nichols' birthday in June, city leaders said they also hope to have a dedication ceremony with his mother and other family members in attendance.

Kaplan said Tuesday the city will be partnering with The Skatepark Project, a nonprofit organization founded by skateboarder Tony Hawk.

Last month, Hawk announced via Twitter that half of the proceeds from selling his limited-edition autographed cards would go directly toward the Tyre Nichols Memorial Fund, the fund that will help make upgrades to the skate park.

My proceeds from these will go to the Tyre Nichols Memorial Fund, which includes plans to build a public skatepark in his honor; as our worlds continue to grieve his loss. He was a talented skater among other admirable traits. Let's keep his legacy alive:

- Tony Hawk (@tonyhawk) February 3, 2023Nichols' sister Keyana Dixon and god sister LaToya Yizar joined virtually into the commission's March 2 meeting via Zoom and shared words to listeners.

"Of course, this is a very tragic event, and we would like to stay on a positive track, and this would definitely bring a lot of positivity in our lives to honor Tyre in this way," Yizar said.

"This would be bringing light to such a tragic event, but it will also be a symbol to remember his legacy and honor his life and also remind us that there's still so much work to be done for justice," Commissioner Odet Ford said during the March 2 meeting, fighting back tears. "For him and his family and for so many other families that have been victims of similar situations."

The proposed budget for the Tyre Nichols Skate Park is $20,000.

Five police officers were indicted by a grand jury in connection with the death of Nichols. They were each charged with second-degree murder, aggravated assault, and aggravated kidnapping, resulting in bodily injury, among other charges. Two other Memphis police officers and three city fire officials were fired in the wake of the incident.

All five officers who were charged have pleaded not guilty.

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