By Gerry Shih
After listening to more than an hour of tributes and emotional testimony Thursday morning, the San Francisco Park and Recreation Commission voted unanimously to rename Speedway Meadow in Golden Gate Park in honor of Warren Hellman, the ailing financier who has long been one of the park’s pre-eminent benefactors.
The meadow will be renamed Hellman Hollow, effective immediately. For a decade, it has been the site of the annual Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival, which Hellman bankrolls. (Hellman is chairman of The Bay Citizen but plays no role in editorial operations.)
The new name is a slight twist on the original proposal, submitted by Supervisor Sean Elsbernd earlier this month, to rename the area Warren Hellman Meadow. Supervisors voted unanimously in symbolic support of that proposal last week, but the park commission president, Mark Buell, said he came upon the idea of suggesting the name Hellman Hollow after speaking to several other commissioners before Thursday’s commission meeting.