Park on Old 63 to be named after Columbia resident killed in Afghanistan

Tuesday, October 8, 2013 | 11:35 a.m. CDT; updated 7:02 a.m. CDT, Wednesday, October 9, 2013

*CORRECTION: A report on the renaming of the park was prepared by the Parks and Recreation department. A previous version of this story misidentified the department.

**CORRECTION: Rock Hill Park was renamed Clyde Wilson Memorial Park in 2010. A previous version of this story gave an incorrect date.

COLUMBIA — Old 63 Roadside Park will soon be renamed Sterling W. Wyatt Park.

The park's new name was approved on a unanimous vote by the Columbia City Council on Monday to honor Wyatt, who was killed in July 2012 while on patrol in Kandahar province, Afghanistan.

Wyatt grew up on Danforth Drive, just two blocks from the park in east Columbia, where his parents, Randy and Sherry Wyatt, still live. During his high school and early college years, he worked across the street from the park at the Bee Line gas station and convenience store just before joining the Army.

The last park to be named for a Columbia resident was Clyde Wilson Memorial Park, which was previously Rock Hill Park, in the East Campus neighborhood in 2010.**

In a memo to the city council, the Parks and Recreation department* expressed support for a generic name such as Patriot Memorial Park, pointing out that five other military service members from Columbia were killed in combat in the past 10 years. The department also proposed adding a memorial wall or plaque to which past and future names could be added.

Sixth Ward Councilwoman Barbara Hoppe made a motion to rename the park for Wyatt, emphasizing that it was a neighborhood park, too small to accommodate a memorial for veterans.

The motion was seconded by Mayor Bob McDavid, who said he's close to the family and knew Wyatt.

Parks and Recreation will draft an ordinance to make the new name official to be brought before council for a final vote at a future meeting.

Supervising editor is John Schneller.

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