BY JAMES HARPER
Flood gates are likely to open if Daytona Beach doesn’t upgrade its criteria when it comes to renaming city facilities, parks, streets and other city properties, Mayor Derrick Henry told the Daytona Times this week.
Henry’s comments come after he learned Madeline Young, the widow of former Daytona Beach Commissioner Rufus Buddy Young, is upset that a part of Derbyshire Park is on its way to being renamed in honor of retired educator Harold V. Lucas before anything has been done to honor her husband, who represented the zone in which the park is located. Young died in 2003.
“I hope to be reaching out to her to finding a way to honor Commissioner Young. We want to make good on promises on someone who is worthy,” said Henry, who learned after reading the Times that Mrs. Young was told that a site to honor her husband was promised but has not been carried out.
Not a done deal
At a meeting last month, all of the Daytona Beach commissioners were in agreement with Henry that the threshold to renaming is too low.
Henry said before he supports renaming a city-owned property after someone, he wants to know the person had a long-standing set of contributions to the community.
“I do want to see criteria upgraded. If it’s not upgraded, the decision still rests in the hands of the commission,” said Henry.
Henry said he is leaning toward supporting renaming the athletic fields in Derbyshire Park after Lucas but he won’t make a final decision until the commission vote in February. City staff and the planning board have approved renaming the fields after Lucas.
“People have spoken to me about this (renaming of athletic fields). It’s important for more people to speak to me who have an opinion about this,” said Henry, noting what he hears from the public will weigh heavy on his final decision.
Young has conceded that the athletic fields likely will be approved by the commission and said she will be working to have the baseball field behind the new Midtown Cultural and Educational Center renamed after her husband. Prior to her current home, she said her family lived a block away from the baseball field.
Henry said he would have no problem supporting her effort.
Two phases completed
Overhauling of the field along with the addition of tennis and basketball courts has yet to begin as the city seeks funding to complete the project.
Leisure Services Director Percy Williamson said the city has not identified a funding source to complete Phase 3 of the center.
Phase 1 was the new aquatic center and Phase 2 was the opening of the new Midtown Cultural and Educational Center last year.
Williamson said renaming of what is known as Kelly Field to locals will not be up to him or his department.
He said there is a process that has to be initiated by Young, which includes getting signatures on a petition, which to his knowledge she has not begun.
D’lorah Hyacinth, daughter of Harold V. Lucas got the ball rolling to have Derbyshire’s athletic fields named after her father.
She pleaded her case last month before the planning board about the renaming.
“I am happy to see the city has recommended going forward with renaming the field. (My father has) contributed to betterment of city, state of Florida and U.S. I submitted an application of over 60 pages. He has touched the lives of hundreds, thousands of lives people who have gone out in the city, state around the country and are making differences where they are,” Hyacinth said.
Williamson said Young could be premature in starting the process to renaming Kelly Field after her husband.
He said it is likely when construction begins on Phase 3 that funding will first be sought for new basketball and tennis courts.
“Outside basketball courts were highly used,” said Williamson, noting that the old courts were demolished when the new Midtown Center was constructed.
He also said that when the baseball field is complete it would be designed for youth little league baseball.