Residents speak out about renaming Woodlawn tennis courts

Tennis courts to be named after former city councilman Joe Alderete

A battle over whether to name the tennis court at Woodlawn Lake for a former city councilman heated up Tuesday night.

A battle over whether to name the tennis courts at Woodlawn Lake for the district's former City Councilman Joe Alderete is heating up.

On Tuesday, the proposed idea drew mixed reaction from residents as they voiced their concerns in a public meeting.

People in support of the name change said Alderete was the man behind making Woodlawn Lake what it is today, a beautiful park. And, he also hosted summer tennis camps on those courts.

"He has been very, very instrumental  and has dedicated thousands of public service hours to this community and this area," said Verna Blackwell-Hilario, a community activist. "And, I think it's very deserving."

However, some residents are concerned about Alderete's 1985 indictment, in which he was accused of pocketing donation money meant for a local youth group, even though he was acquitted.

Still, many Tuesday night said their issue with the change is that the former councilman is still living.

"It seems a little self promoting to have your name on something while you are still alive and pushing for it," said Lowell F. Ayers, a longtime resident.

District 7 City Councilman Cris Medina said he's heard from residents who feel very strongly on both sides of the issue.

"I think like any naming process, we're going to have folks for and against. Nothing too surprising," said Medina. "But, what's important to me is that the citizens voices were heard and that's what it's all about."

The purpose of Tuesday's meeting was to get input form residents. Everyone who showed up was asked to fill out a form on whether they are for or against naming the tennis courts for Joe Alderete. The input will be taken to a committee and they'll make a recommendation to city council.

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