SOUTH SACRAMENTO — A new park in South Sacramento’s Meadowview neighborhood is being renamed to honor actor and television personality LeVar Burton.
City leaders hope the move will help inspire future generations.
“It’s nice when our local heroes can come back, especially with something as nice as dedicating a park to them,” said Star Trek fan Lon Sway.
Sway came out Tuesday to the newly renamed LeVar Burton Park. He was dressed in his best Starfleet formals to get a chance to meet the local celebrity as he visited his roots.
“I’m with the local Star Trek club, the USS Independence, and we just brought a patch to give to him today,” Sway said.
The park’s dedication by the city of Sacramento is one Burton was not expecting.
“I have a difficult time putting it into words,” Burton told FOX40. “This park will be here for a long time, if not forever.”
Thanks, Mayor Steinberg https://t.co/vDu9iFjRGi
— LeVar Burton (@levarburton) June 11, 2019
City leaders said they wanted to rename Richfield Park because Burton’s successes can serve as a valuable lesson to youth living in the Meadowview neighborhood.
“If we do the right thing by our young people, we’ll produce more LeVar Burtons,” said Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg.
“I want that to be the message of this park, that if I can do it, so can you,” Burton said.
Although he lives in Sherman Oaks now, Burton said he’s kept up on news from his old neighborhood, especially the shooting of Stephon Clark in March 2018.
“The legacy of slavery is alive and well in America,” he said. “As Americans, we really need to take a long, hard look at ourselves and make some change.”
— Daniel Hahn (@Chief_Hahn) June 12, 2019
While Burton is best known for his roles on “Reading Rainbow” and “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” if he gets his way, his next project could be the next generation for a popular game show.
“We’ve made it really clear to the good people at ‘Jeopardy’ that LeVar wants that gig,” Burton said.
If and when Alex Trebek retires, fans like Sway love the idea of Burton stepping in.
“That’d be terrific,” Sway said “I love ‘Jeopardy.’ I tried out for it years ago, so that would be a lot of fun!”
The Sacramento City Council also declared Tuesday as “LeVar Burton Day.”