A special city advisory board unanimously approved the recommendation of renaming of Lincoln Heights Park in Zephyrhills to honor the city’s first African American employee.
The advisory board held a special meeting on Aug. 15 to consider the issue.
The group was made up of Mayor Melonie Monson, Dave Walters, Eileen Westerman, Beth Aker, Randy Stovall, Tracy Mahon and Tracy Sullivan.
City Manager Billy Poe also was in attendance.
The board voted 4-0 to recommend the renaming of the park to Ellis Harrold Neighborhood Park. (Three advisory board members were absent).
Poe said the resolution will be presented to the City Council for approval at its Aug. 28 meeting.
During the June 12 City Council meeting, the board was formed to look into renaming Lincoln Heights Park, which sits between homes on Lincoln Avenue, just east of Airport Road. The action was spurred by a resolution brought forth by newly elected Seat 2 City Councilman Steve Spina.
The park’s renaming is the city’s way to honor Harrold, who was hired by the city in 1962 and worked there for 34 years. Harrold has resided in Zephyrhills since 1957 and was a resident of the Lincoln Heights neighborhood.
The city previously honored Harrold in a proclamation on Feb. 27.
That proclamation noted Harrold “broke barriers that existed at the time and opened doors for other African Americans to work for the City of Zephyrhills.”
According to the board, and the town charter, there is criteria to rename a park, with this small park falling under the consideration of “a person, living or deceased, that has made a significant contribution to the city, either monetarily or through outstanding civic service.”
Board members enthusiastically agreed it was a worthy renaming and the park “was in need of not only a rebranding” but also of some improvements.
The park includes a pavilion, picnic tables, basketball court and playground.
Poe said the park needs some minor fixes, but nothing major or urgent.
He also noted the park currently has no signage, but a sign will be added with the park’s new name.
But the city manager also noted that new signage will come after the city unveils its new town-wide signage, as part of Zephyrhills’ rebranding efforts, which remain under development.
Poe said it’s likely that at some point there will be a small ceremony featuring Harrold and his family, following the city commission’s final action on the park’s renaming.
Published August 23, 2023