Goethe Park Renamed As River Bend Park

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(Sacramento, CA)
Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The park was named after Charles M. Goethe about 40 years ago. He was a successful Sacramento developer and banker who gave away millions of dollars before he died in 1966.

But he was also a strong supporter of eugenics. That’s the early 20th Century white supremacist movement to breed better humans.

"Knowing what Goethe thought of about people of color, his name shouldn’t be on anything."

Wanda Williams is a community activist who helped get the ball rolling to change the name of the park.

In March, the County’s Parks Department held an on-line survey to let the public vote on several possible names. The winner: ”River Bend Park.”

Williams says she’s happy.  

"I like the name. That’s a good safe name. I won’t be able to find anything bad on River Bend on the internet." 

The County Board of Supervisors approved the new name Tuesday. But the process won’t be cheap. It’ll cost the county between $11,700 and $31,700 for new park signs and maps.

The park sits on more than 400 acres of the American River Parkway near Rancho Cordova.