Frisco City Council approved the renaming of First Street Park as Jack Hamilton Park and Persimmon Park behind Frisco city hall as Jimmy and Clara Jones Park. These are the first two parks in Frisco to be named after African-Americans, officials said at the March 2 council meeting.
Frisco Mayor Jeff Cheney said the naming process aims to choose people who are connected to the city.
“We really want to use them to tell the story of Frisco,” Cheney said of those honored with park names.
The Frisco Park and Trail Naming Committee recommended the changes after reviewing 36 applications that had proposed 12 different names, according to a city staff memo.
Pastor Jack Hamilton founded the city’s first African-American church in 1914 in his home and later moved the church to its current location at First and Ash streets near the park, according to the memo. The church building also served as Frisco’s first African-American school until 1964, the memo stated. During weekdays, the building was known as Hamilton Elementary School, and on weekends it became Hamilton Chapel Baptist Church.
A marker at the First Street Park states that the site is a Land and Water Conservation Fund project sponsored by the city and several other agencies. It was dedicated by then Frisco Mayor John Clanton on July 4, 1982.
Jimmy and Clara Jones, for whom the second park is named, also have strong ties to the church. Jimmy Jones is the great nephew of Hamilton, according to the city. He and his wife, Clara, and their children grew up near the church, where they have decades of involvement. Their contributions extended beyond the Black community to benefit the city as well as Frisco ISD, according to city officials.