ADMIRALTY PARK, will be renamed Yvonne Brathwaite Burke Park in a ceremony in Marina del Rey on Wednesday, April 1st. (Argonaut photo by T.W. Brown)

Change is coming to Marina del Rey ó in more ways than one.

While there has been a great deal of controversy over the redevelopment of the coastal community, none has surfaced regarding the renaming of a park that sits next to one of the main thoroughfares of the Marina.

Beginning Wednesday, April 1st, Admiralty Park will be known as Yvonne Brathwaite Burke Park, in honor of the former Second District county supervisor, who retired last fall after serving four terms on the Board of Supervisors.

Burke, who as the Second District supervisor represented Mar Vista and portions of Marina del Rey and Playa del Rey, will be joined by her former colleagues on the board at a ceremony at the park at 9:30 a.m.

She was the first African-American in county history to serve on the board and was succeeded by the first African-American man to become a county supervisor, Mark-Ridley-Thomas.

Fourth District Supervisor Don Knabe, who represents Marina del Rey, authored a motion in November to install Burkeís name on Admiralty Park.

ìI am proud to have recognized my colleague and my friend, Yvonne B. Burke, by introducing the motion to rename Admiralty Park in her honor,î Knabeís motion read. ìThe park enhances the recreational experience of visitors who come to the Marina from around the world.î

The motion was approved unanimously by the board.

The former supervisor has strong ties to the Marina. During her time in office, Burke lived in Marina del Rey for 12 years. Her husband, Dr. William Burke, a member of the California Coastal Commission, docks his boat there.

ìWeíve always spent a lot of time in Marina del Rey, whether it was on our boat, exercising and using the wonderful parks or going to the restaurants,î Burke told The Argonaut. ìItís a marvelous place that was designed to provide recreational boating to the general public, and we have always enjoyed spending a lot of time there.î

David Sommers, Knabeís press deputy, said that Burkeís influence on Marina affairs during her tenure in office was substantial.

ìThe Second District surrounds part of Marina del Rey, and her efforts in working with supervisor Knabe had an indirect impact on the successes in Marina del Rey,î he said.

For several years, Burke hosted the ìBeach Blastî at Marina Beach, known to locals as Mothers Beach. The annual September party, which was attended by foster children who had few chances to enjoy beach activities, signaled the official end of summer and was the last opportunity for many of the foster participants to gather for food and fun in the sun in Marina del Rey until the next summer.

Burke was also the first African-American woman to serve in the United States Congress from the West Coast and the first to give birth while in office.

ìSupervisor Burke has a deep, personal attachment and commitment to Marina del Rey dating back nearly 30 years,î Knabe stated. ìI am proud to honor my colleague and my friend by finally and permanently renaming this park with the name it should rightfully have.î

Burke thanked her former board members for the honor.

ìIím very pleased that Supervisor Knabe is doing this in my honor,î she said. ìItís very gratifying.î

A longtime friend of the former supervisorís, ex-Culver City mayor Albert Vera, is thrilled that Burke is receiving yet another honor nearly five months after she left office.

ìYvonne deserves to be honored for all of the great work that she has done for the county and its residents for many, many years,î said Vera, who worked closely with Burke for several years. ìShe is a true pioneer, a dedicated public servant and Iím very happy that the county is honoring her in this way.î

In addition to the renaming of Admiralty Park, a new scholarship to honor Burke was announced on March 19th at California State University. Scholarships of about $2,500 will be awarded annually in Burkeís name, made possible by a $50,000 gift from supervisors in recognition of Burkeís years on the board and her connection to California State University at Dominguez Hills, which is also in the district she represented.

ìCalifornia State University, Dominguez Hills, educates many of the best and brightest who contribute to our community in every field,î said the former supervisor. ìI am proud and thankful that I can be a part of the enhancement of these students through this scholarship.î

The first scholarships will be awarded to students in the spring of 2010, school officials said.

Burke says that she is enjoying her retirement but still values going to the Marina.

ìItís a wonderful place to live, or to visit and take part in all of the activities that the county provides,î she said.

Santos Kreimann, the director of the Department of Beaches and Harbors, will serve as the master of ceremonies at the park dedication.