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Official advocates name change for Coonskin Park

Charleston Gazette photo by Kenny Kemp  A sign at the entrance of Coonskin Park bears the park’s name. Retired state Adj. Gen. Allen Tackett, chairman of the Kanawha County Parks and Recreation Commission, said some people are offended by the name, which is generally associated with a type of fur cap made from a raccoon skin. Tackett wants to change the name.
Charleston Gazette photo by Kenny Kemp
A sign at the entrance of Coonskin Park bears the park’s name. Retired state Adj. Gen. Allen Tackett, chairman of the Kanawha County Parks and Recreation Commission, said some people are offended by the name, which is generally associated with a type of fur cap made from a raccoon skin. Tackett wants to change the name.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The head of the Kanawha County Parks and Recreation Commission wants to change the name of Coonskin Park in Charleston.

“I’ve had two or three people say they were offended by the name Coonskin Park,” said retired state Adj. Gen. Allen Tackett, chairman of the Kanawha County Parks and Recreation Commission. Although the name Coonskin is generally associated with a kind of fur cap made out of the skin of a raccoon, Tackett said the term could be offensive to African Americans.

A discussion of changing the name of the park is on the agenda for a regular meeting of the Parks and Recreation Commission on Thursday.

“If we’re ever going to talk about changing the name of the park, now is the time,” Tackett said.

He said state highways officials are in the middle of building a new bridge and entrance to the park that will require closing down the old entrance off of Coonskin Drive. Because new signs will have to be made for the new park entrance anyway, Tackett said it would be an easy matter to change the name of the park.

Tackett said he has mentioned wanting to change the name to some members of the Parks and Recreation Commission, but has no idea if the commission will go along with the idea…

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