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Should the City Rename the Depot Plaza After Dick Jessup?

The former mayor and designer of the downtown hub died earlier this month, causing some to wonder if official recognition of his connection to it is in order.

Two weeks before , former Mill Valley Mayor Dick Jessup hosted more than a dozen former mayors at his home near the . The get-together was both an indication of Jessup’s stature in town and a realization that the end was near.

The group chatted for a while over wine and cheese, with most of the former local pols paying their respects to the man who came up with the idea to create the and designed it, according to current (and former) Mayor Garry Lion, who attended the gathering.

Jessup first proposed transforming the former train station-turned-bus station at the center of downtown, with Greyhound and Golden Gate Transit buses turning around in the area where  customers now sit outside and parking being the dominant use, into a community gathering place surrounded by parking. The plaza was built in 1982 based on Jessup’s drawings.

“There was also quite a bit of discussion and even the suggestion that the city ought to consider renaming the plaza in Dick’s honor,” Lion said of the gathering.

Lion said there is an existing City Council policy of not naming streets or places in town after people while they are living, but that obviously doesn't apply to Jessup.

Lion said he supports the idea of connecting Jessup in a more pronounced way with the Depot Plaza, either naming it after him or, at the very least, installing a plaque recognizing his role in its creation. Several councilmembers declined to comment, saying it was a bit premature for them to weigh in right now since the matter could come before them in the future.

"I personally would like to honor Dick’s contributions in a meaningful, public way – and the city will do that," Councilwoman Shawn Marshall said. "I’m not sure about the renaming of major public facilities after any one person, but this is something the council needs to discuss. Either way, I don't consider it a litmus test for how much he was loved and respected in Mill Valley – that goes without saying."

So what do you think? Should the city name the Depot Plaza after Dick Jessup? Is a plaque more appropriate? Vote in our poll below and let us know in the Comments section why you feel the way you do.

Mari August 03, 2012 at 08:02 PM
Very interesting, MV Resident. Check this out : http://millvalley.patch.com/search?_utf8=%E2%98%83&keywords=bulb+out
Anne Tique August 04, 2012 at 07:04 PM
Though for several years now our family has called it Latte Liberal Plaza, I think a plaque outlining the known history of the plaza, from earliest days to the present, which would include mention of Mr. Jessup, would be a worthy city project.
Larry Bathgate August 06, 2012 at 07:44 PM
I would like to suggest it be named the "Jessup Memorial Depot Plaza". That way, it could still be referred to as the "Depot Plaza", but officially, the longer name would be used. It would be a very public way to honor Dick Jessup, and the placement of a plaque somewhere in the plaza should also be considered.
Larry Bathgate August 06, 2012 at 09:04 PM
But it wasn't always a "bus depot". It became the Greyhound Bus Depot in 1940 after Greyhound took over the Mill Valley commute and tourist service. Before that, it was a train terminal, most famously as the starting off point for the Mt Tamalpais and Muir Woods Railway which went bust in 1929. The building itself was constructed in 1928. It continued to serve as a train station for the Mill Valley spur line (3rd rail electric train service) of the Northwestern Pacific Railroad until 1940, when the rail service was discontinued and Greyhound moved in. Greyhound remained until 1970 when Golden Gate Transit took over the commute and tourist service. Some time after that, it ceased to be used as a bus station. Finally, in 1982, it was reborn as the Depot Bookstore and Cafe. Please see: http://millvalley.patch.com/articles/then-now-the-depot#photo-5086779
Sylvia "Chipps" Newsom Barsky August 07, 2012 at 05:10 AM
Very nice idea. It covers a lot and does not add any confusion to the already accepted name. Good thinking!

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