August Derleth Park in Sauk City WI (where the author was born in 1909 and died in 1971) is being renamed to Sauk City Riverfont Park. The Sauk City Village Board voted 6-1 for the name change in August 2018, but the change is now drawing outcry from Derleth’s fans and family.
Jon Caflisch of the August Derleth Society (based in Sauk City) says the park is well known in the community, and that he will “always call it August Derleth Park and I think most people will.” He said the board was “trying to erase [Derleth’s] name.” A board member pointed out that, “We’ve got the August Derleth Bridge. August Derleth is all around us.”
Village board president Jim Anderson says the name change is meant to reflect that “this is going to be a riverside park” with new amenities, including an expanded soccer field, playground, splash pad, and access to the Great Sauk State Trail and the Wisconsin River.
Mikayala Wheeler started a petition (supported by Derleth’s grandson Damon Derleth) to protest the change, garnering over 1,200 signatures in the first few days: <www.change.org/p/sauk-city-village-board-keep-august-derleth-park-77fc4269-03ee-416a-9263-39f59bdfa481>.
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