Herb Drinkwater's name is closer to becoming a part of the mountains he loved.
One of the highest points in Scottsdale's McDowell Mountains will become Drinkwater's Peak, in honor of the late mayor, if the city's McDowell Sonoran Preserve Commission gets its way.
The peak is one of more than a dozen natural landscape features in the preserve for which commission members agreed this week to seek officially sanctioned names.
The commission expects to have an application to the Arizona State Board on Geographic and Historic Names ready for the City Council's review in August, on or about the date of Drinkwater's birthday.
Drinkwater was on the City Council for eight years before serving as mayor from 1980 to 1996. He died in December 1997 at age 61 after a bout with cancer.
The state requires a five-year waiting period after a person's death before it will consider naming geographic features to memorialize an individual.
“He loved the McDowell Mountains. . . . That would be an awesome tribute,’’ said Drinkwater's daughter, Jamie Drinkwater Buchanan.
“I think he would be overwhelmed. He would feel very humble but pleased to see how the preserve (is growing),’’ she said.
Herb Drinkwater is buried at Paradise Memorial Gardens near Shea Boulevard and Pima Road, a site with a panoramic view of the McDowells.
“He wanted to be (buried) near the mountains,’’ his daughter said.
“It's so appropriate to have Herb's name associated with those mountains,’’ said former City Councilman Robert Pettycrew. “He was one of those who had the vision (for the preserve).’’
“It's a wonderful honor,’’ said Drinkwater's widow, Jackie Drinkwater. “They all worked so hard to make the preserve happen. He'd be excited about what we have now.’’
The McDowells are among almost 15,000 acres preserved as part of a planned 36,000-acre desert open-space system.
The site proposed to bear Drinkwater's name is next to the prominent McDowell Peak, in a part of the mountain range most visible from around the city, the preserve commission's report said.
The commission also wants to have Granite Mountain's name changed to Little Granite Mountain to avoid confusion with the larger and more widely known Granite Mountain in Prescott.
Designations on U.S. Geologic Survey maps will also be sought for various washes, peaks, mountain passes and prominent boulder formations. Among those are Lost Dog Wash, Browns Mountain, Cholla Mountain, Cathedral Rock, Windgate Pass and Tom's Thumb butte.
Having names on official government maps will improve public safety in the preserve by providing location markers for emergency service crews if they're needed for medical rescues or firefighting in the mountains, said commission chairman Darren Smith.
Named features also will be useful landmarks for a trail system the city is developing in the mountains, he said.