City Council discusses renaming Beaumont Municipal Tennis Center

It seems the Beaumont Municipal Tennis Center may not be renamed in the immediate future.

On Tuesday, the Beaumont City Council discussed a request to rename the Beaumont Municipal Tennis Center as the Allison Getz Municipal Tennis Center, after the late Allison Nathan Getz. Getz had a lifelong love for the sport, was president of 17 local organizations over her lifetime and was elected as Jefferson County Tax Assessor Collector in 2014, among other community involvement.

The request, which came from her husband and Ward II Council member Mike Getz, was the first discussed by the council since its Oct. 31 approval of an official naming policy for city facilities. The request included resolutions in support of the rename from the Southeast Texas Tennis Association and the executive board of Temple Emanuel.

Getz thought he followed the process to a letter and posted to social media before the conversation, asking residents to join him in this request.

However, the five council members, with Ward I Council member Taylor Neild absent, declined to move the idea forward to a city board, commission or committee. 

“I just want to be clear, I care I very much for (Allison) and as a community,” Mayor Roy West said. “But as mayor, I don’t believe this is something that the city ought to proceed with. So, I would like to say that I don’t see a need to send this to a committee to come back.”

RELATED: Beaumont tennis center could be named after late community member

During public comment at the beginning of the meeting, Beaumont resident Jason Marshburn spoke in favor of the renaming of the complex.

“Normally, I do not like to name structures after people because of the divisive nature, but this thing is good exception because this particular lady was loved by all people,” Marshburn said. “There’s a good precedent like at the airport, we have another structure that was named after our former county auditor that unfortunately passed too early of cancer just like Mrs. Getz did.”

The council later went member-by-member to get feedback on the idea.

Ward III Council member Audwin Samuel said that he believes the council needs to revisit its new ordinance as the council did not anticipate that a member of the elected body itself would bring forward their own naming suggestion.

Samuel went on to say that he believes names under consideration should be because an individual was extra ordinary to the entire community.

RELATED: Remembering Allison

“From a historical perspective, I believe naming buildings within the city, that’s normally done for something not ordinary, not just being nice, not just being liked, but it’s done in recognition of extra ordinary things that have been given to the community by that person, in all parts of the community,” Samuel said. “That’s why I’m making my decision on and because of that … I can’t support the naming, because my perception of what the naming should exemplify, and I’m not being derogatory toward what she has not done.”

At-Large Council member A.J. Turner said that although the request didn’t break any rules, he believes the council needs to be “crystal clear” on how it operates moving forward.

“I think right now at this point, we need to look at total community buy in with the situation. There’s other parties involved,” Turner said. “I just want to make sure before we even look into moving forward, we need to make sure everyone’s on the same page.”

At-Large Council member Randy Feldschau said it is uncomfortable for him to discuss the issue since Allison’s passing was close, on Oct. 10.

Feldschau specified that he doesn’t believe the renaming is a question Alison or her character, service and contribution to the community.

“I think everyone in the room agrees that this lady was a true servant within our city and we all love and appreciate her very much,” Feldschau said. “For me, it’s more of a question of, is this the right thing at the right time for all the citizens of Beaumont? Because one of the uncomfortable things we have as a council, as leaders, we have to make a decision with the entire community in mind. And so for me at this time, I just can’t support it.”

RELATED: Hundreds gather for Allison Nathan Getz funeral

Mike Getz said that he was disappointed with the comments from his fellow council members.

“What I think we have here is some political maneuvering that failed to separate the fact that Allison Getz is not Mike Getz,” he said. “There’s certainly no doubt in my mind that in my political career, I’ve ruffled some feathers. I’ve made some enemies.”

He went on to bring up the Winston Churchill quote “You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.” 

Mike Getz said that Allison Getz stood for something and operated in her own “realm” as the Jefferson County Tax Assessors Collector separate from him.

“We can talk about the process all you want about needing to go back and change the ordinance, but I followed that ordinance to the letter. I did everything right,” Mike Getz said. “We’ve got a facility sitting over there on Gulf Street in the North End, the Sterling Pruitt Center. I’ve tried to research who Mr. Pruitt was, he was an assistant city manager. I don’t think he ever demonstrated kind of record of civic involvement that Allison did. So, I am extremely disappointed in this council.”


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