Salem residents invited to vote on new park name by July 31

File photoPeople sit at the new park at 289 Derby St. in Salem. 

SALEM — Voting is underway to pick a name for the city's newest park. 

The park, at 289 Derby St., is open to the public and has seating, swing seats, a boardwalk that connects around the South River and open space for programs and performances.

An adjacent property owner's plans for al fresco dining bordering the park are also in the works. 

Now, the park needs a name. Residents can vote for a name at by 4 p.m. on July 31. 

So far, 850 votes have been cast, according to the city. 

Residents can rank suggested names in order of preference: 289 Derby, Charlotte Forten Park, Nathaniel Bowditch Park, Naumkeag Park and South River Park. 

Charlotte Forten was Salem State's first African American graduate, as a member of the Class of 1856. She was an abolitionist, educator, writer, poet, translator and women's rights activist. For 65 years, Forten advocated for the end of slavery, equality for women and people of color, and education for all. 

Nathaniel Bowditch of Salem was a self-educated man who went to sea in 1795 when he was just 22 years old. He published "The New American Practical Navigator," his own version of a popular English navigational manual which eventually became the western hemisphere's shipping industry standard. 

The Naumkeag tribe were a Native American people of the Massachusetts Pawtucket Tribe who lived in the Salem region. They suffered many hardships after the European's arrival in 1629, including a plague in 1633 (likely smallpox) that just about killed off the tribe's remaining members. However, they remained mostly peaceful with the Europeans. 

"This new public space offers an open connection linking downtown, the Point neighborhood, and our historic waterfront,” said Mayor Kim Driscoll in a statement. “Whether you visit it for a program or activity, grab a seat to eat your lunch, or just wander through to stroll around the South River, the park is a great new amenity for our community. I invite all Salem residents to provide their feedback on what this new public space should be officially named.”