The City of Zephyrhills is home to many parks, large and small, but one tucked inside one of its oldest neighborhoods may soon be getting a new name.
The city has convened a special advisory board to consider renaming Lincoln Heights Park. City Councilman Steve Spina has suggested changing the park’s name to Ellis Harrold Neighborhood Park, to honor the city’s first African American, who was on the city’s staff for 34 years.
The idea came up during a June 12 City Council meeting, when City Manager Billy Poe brought forth a resolution to convene a special city advisory board to rename Lincoln Heights Park, which sits between homes on Lincoln Avenue, just east of Airport Road.
The newly elected Seat 2 City Councilman Steve Spina brought forth the resolution.
In a letter to advocate the renaming of the park to honor Ellis, Spina wrote: “I believe Mr. Ellis Harrold meets these criteria, in breaking the racial barriers of his time, in contributing to the fabric of the community and having support of the neighborhood of which he resides and where the park is located.”
The City Council voted 5-0 to convene a special advisory board to consider the park’s renaming.
The special advisory board will consist of seven members: two planning commissioners, two historic planning members, two parks and recreation representatives, and the mayor, Melonie Bahr Monson.
Spina told city leaders that he has spoken to several residents of the neighborhood surrounding the park and “has the full support” of them, including the Rev. Adrian Gay of Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church, which is close to the park.
Harrold has lived in Zephyrhills since 1957 and previously resided in the city’s Lincoln Heights neighborhood. He was hired by the city in 1962.
The city honored Harrold with a proclamation on Feb. 27, which in part, noted that when Harrold was hired he “broke barriers that existed at the time and opened doors for other African Americans to work for the City of Zephyrhills.”
The board will come up with a few suggested names, but ultimately the City Council will choose the name and then appropriate changes, including signage at the park, will be made.
Meanwhile, the board will hear public comments, including suggested names from residents, all of whom can support naming it after Harrold or suggest other names and/or individuals they may think worthy of the honor.
“There were several people there the night of his proclamation (in February), so we think that residents in Lincoln Heights are very supportive of naming it after Mr. Harrold,” Poe said.
Published on June 28, 2023.