The Las Vegas City Council today approved the renaming of two city parks. Kianga Isoke Palacio Park at Doolittle Complex, located at 951 W. Lake Mead Blvd., has been renamed the Kianga Isoke Palacio Park at Doolittle Complex. Kianga Isoke Palacio Park at Doolittle Complex originally was constructed in 1965 and named after James Harold Doolittle, Sr. Doolittle was an Air Force general and a pioneer of aviation. He also was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for leading the first carrier-based bomber attack on Japan in 1942. Doolittle's family donated the land where the current community center, senior center and park are located. The names of the community center and senior center were not changed. However, at the May 1, 2012, Parks and Recreation Advisory Commission meeting, the commission unanimously recommended renaming the park. Palacio was an influential person in the West Las Vegas community and respected and adored by many. She co-founded S.I.S.T.A's (Sisters in Society Taking Action), a mentoring and Rites of Passage program for girls based out of the West Las Vegas Arts Center. Palacio passed away in 2009 after a three-year battle with breast cancer.
Freedom Park, located at 850 N. Mojave Road, now will be known as Gary Reese Freedom Park. Freedom Park originally was constructed in 1972 and named after all those who have served in the military. At the May 1, 2012, Parks and Recreation Advisory Commission meeting, the commission recommended renaming the park to carry Reese's name. Gary Reese has remained committed to the betterment of the community for many years, including his 16 years as a Las Vegas councilman serving Ward 3, where the park is located. He also served as mayor pro tem. Community members canvassed the neighborhood around the park and collected 1,500 signatures in favor of the name change.
In addition, at the April 4 City Council meeting, the council approved the renaming of Justice Myron E. Leavitt Family Park, located at 2100 E. St. Louis Ave., to Justice Myron E. Leavitt and Jaycee Community Park. Justice Myron E. Leavitt Family Park originally was constructed in 1966 and named after the Jaycees, or Junior Chamber of Commerce. Over the years, the Jaycees disbanded in Las Vegas. The park has had several expansions and renovations through the years. Dec. 3, 2008, the park was named after Justice Leavitt, who was a distinguished lawyer, judge and chief justice of the Nevada Supreme Court. Over the years, he frequented the park, coaching football and other sports. However, at the March 6, 2012, Parks and Recreation Advisory Commission meeting, the commission unanimously recommended renaming the park once again to Justice Myron E. Leavitt and Jaycee Community Park, as the Jaycees were very instrumental at the park's inception.