BY JAMES HARPER
The Daytona Beach City Commission voted 5-2 Wednesday night to rename the athletic fields at Derbyshire Park & Sports Complex, the “Harold V. Lucas, Jr. Athletic Fields.’’
Mayor Derrick Henry and Zone 5 City Commissioner Patrick Henry, who represents the area where Derbyshire Park is located, voted against the item.
Commissioner Henry said before the vote that there is controversy surrounding the renaming. “I’ve gotten calls on both sides,” he said.
The commissioner said residents who have contacted him don’t want their park named after anyone or say it should be named after the late Mayor Yvonne Scarlett Golden, who was a Zone 5 commissioner before being elected mayor.
Zone 6 Commissioner Paula Reed said her only concern over the renaming of the athletic fields after Lucas is it might overshadow the Cultural and Educational Center, which is expected to open next month.
Mayor Henry said many people spoke to him privately against the renaming. The mayor, who also has represented Zone 5 as a commissioner, called the item “a sensitive issue.’
He also disagreed with Attorney Reginald Moore, who spoke on behalf of renaming the athletic fields after Lucas.
Moore said he is glad the city was considering naming the fields after someone who is living and can enjoy it.
“I am surprised there is any controversy at all. I am here to encourage this commission to honor one of our own while they are alive while they can appreciate it,” he commented.
Mayor Henry remarked that he disagreed with naming sites for “people who are living. I disagree with Mr. Moore. This is a sensitive issue.”
Upset with process
Before voting, Commissioner Robert Gilliland asked if a criminal background check was conducted and was told nothing came up on Lucas.
Gilliland said he was upset with the process being used to rename city facilities and properties.
“We really need to come up with a more objective way – maybe not Planning Board. We have fixed properties we can name,” he said.
City Manager Jim Chisholm said Daytona is revising the policy and is not accepting any applicants for renaming until it is revised.
If an individual after whom any city-owned land or facility has been named is convicted of a felony or otherwise comes into discredit, the use of the name may be discontinued by action of city commission, according to city ordinance.
Retired educator, coach
Lucas is a Daytona Beach native who for the last seven decades has served the Daytona Beach community as an assistant principal and coach at Campbell Junior High and Mainland High School. He also worked at Daytona State College and Bethune-Cookman University.
Lucas has been described as a mentor and philanthropist. He also is an active member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity and New Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church.
The Derbyshire sports complex is the site of multiple athletic events and includes soccer fields, lighted basketball courts, baseball fields, and lighted tennis courts.
The original request by Lucas’ daughter, D’lorah Hyacinth, was to rename the entire Derbyshire Park & Sports Complex the “Harold V. Lucas, Jr. Park & Sports Complex.”
After reviewing the request with city staff, Hyacinth amended her application to request only the renaming of the existing athletic fields after her dad.