Plan could allow new name for old Everett city hall

EVERETT — It’s not much of a change, but it’s enough to clear the way for the former city hall to bear the name of late Mayor Bill Moore.

The City Council is poised to consider a change in policy that would give the city more flexibility when it comes to naming city buildings.

Last summer, people in the community put forward a plan to name the former city hall building after Moore.

He served three terms as mayor and was best known for championing infrastructure upgrades and bringing the Navy base to Everett.

The plan to name the building at 3002 Wetmore Ave. after Moore hit a snag when the nonprofit group Historic Everett pointed out the proposal violates Everett policy, which strongly discourages changing names that have been in common usage for decades. Name changes for public buildings and other man-made structures should only be approved “when they do not violate historical or common usage names.” The policy specifically prohibits renaming landmarks listed on historical registries.

The building in question is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Practically, it no longer serves as a city hall. The mayor and the rest of the city administration are located across the street in the modern Wall Street Building. The former city hall is used today by the Everett Police Department, and it’s also where the City Council holds public meetings.

The new policy proposal, worked on by the city’s lawyers and planning staff, is not substantially different, said Allan Giffen, Everett’s Planning and Community Development director.

It does make clear that historic buildings with more generic names such as “fire station No. 3” may be renamed. That would clear the way for the city to approve renaming Everett City Hall the William E. Moore Historic City Hall.

The proposal also gives the Council a trump card: The proposal states that the Council may name or rename “any city building, public place, facility or natural feature” if they “feel there is sufficient reason.” Valerie Steel, president of Historic Everett, took issue with that last part.

“I don’t understand where feelings particularly come into play when we are talking about good policy and effective government,” she told the council Wednesday.

Right now the policy change is just a proposal.

The city’s Historical Commission plans to talk about the matter at its meeting at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in the eighth floor hearing room, Wall Street Building, 2930 Wetmore Avenue.

The City Council will get the final say on the name change proposal sometime in the next several weeks.

Even if that passes, a separate proposal to name the old city hall after Moore would still need to be approved.

Debra Smith: 425-339-3197, dsmith@heraldnet.com.

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