Bayfront Park is now "Bedwell Bayfront Park."
The Menlo Park City Council voted 5-0 on Sept. 9 to rename the 160-acre park in honor of Michael Bedwell, the city manager from 1964 to 1991. Mr. Bedwell, 77, died March 9 after a fight with heart and lung problems.
Mr. Bedwell was the driving force behind the creation of the park, which is built atop a capped landfill near the intersection of Marsh Road and Bayfront Expressway. Council members also directed city staff to look into building a storyboard at the park to outline the transformation of the area from a landfill into a popular spot for walking, kite flying and bird watching.
"It would thrill Mike to know that he's held in high regard by so many people in the community," said Carleen Bedwell, Mr. Bedwell's wife, referring to the letters in support of renaming the park sent to council members. Mayor Andy Cohen initially proposed naming the park after Mr. Bedwell, and the Parks and Recreation Commission endorsed the idea on a 6-0 vote in June.
In approving the name change, council members opted to override a council policy that says a person must be dead for at least five years before a park or facility can be named in his or her honor. Council policies serve as guidelines, but are not legally binding, meaning the council can ignore them with a majority vote.
"[Mr. Bedwell has been retired from the city for 17-18 years," said Councilman Heyward Robinson. "It doesn't make any sense to wait another five."
Councilman John Boyle was hesitant to break from the policy, and suggested the city should simply dedicate the park to Mr. Bedwell rather than rename it. He made a motion to that effect, but that suggestion received no support, and he went along with renaming the park.