The park’s original name comes from neighboring Grayton Beach, one of the oldest townships along the Gulf of Mexico in Walton County. Obtained through a land lease from the Florida Board of Education in 1964 and Grayton Beach State Park was dedicated and opened in 1968. It borders the township on all sides except to the south which features the Gulf of Mexico. WHY CHANGE THE NAME??????
After reading the following article let these folks know what you think about this change.
Senator Durell Peaden, Jr.
Representative Brad Drake
Sponsors of Bill:
e-mail – email@example.com
With Senate bill 1882 making its way through the legislature and primed to go into effect July, 1 2010, area residents disagree about whom the park should be named after.
Gene Wesley, who has lived in Walton County for 81 years, said he would like to see the park named after a longtime family friend, Thomas D. Bailey.
"He was an outstanding person," said the Seagrove resident. "He was a member of the state Board of Education and served as the superintendent of schools."
Senate bill 1882 was introduced by Rep. Marti Coley, R-Marianna, and Sen. Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, to rechristen Grayton Beach State Park as Bob Graham Grayton Beach State Park . The bill mentions Sen. Graham's local ties in Walton County and states that the park may never have expanded without his efforts.
“This most valuable addition to the park might never have occurred without Bob Graham’s personal involvement,” the proposed bills read. Graham has said that South Walton County is “his roots.” His grandfather was also from Freeport and a country doctor.''
Wesley said even with Bob Graham’s ties to the county, he believes Bailey would be a more deserving recipient.
Thomas Bailey served as Superintendent of Public Instruction/Commissioner of Education in the state of Florida from 1949-1965, according to Florida Memory State Library and Archives.
Wesley said Thomas first came to DeFuniak Springs and befriended his father in the mid-20s, when Bailey came to teach at the Thomas Industrial Institute.
"This was the first job he had," Wesley remembered. "Back then DeFuniak was the town of schools and churches. That is about all that was there."
Wesley said throughout the years Mr. Bailey taught many, many students and served as principle of Walton County High School .
"Teaching was just one of his passions," Wesley said. "School work was all he ever did his entire life, from the time he left college until he died."
While serving on the state board of education, Wesley said, Bailey oversaw the disbursement of the property that is now Grayton Beach State Park .
"He had asked me to help get the land transferred over to the division of state parks so everyone could enjoy it," Wesley said. "We had gone out with the park director and drove the property. It was his idea to make the property available for public use."
Wesley said he respects what Sen. Graham did to help purchase the land from Van Ness Butler.
"I don’t have a thing in the world against Bob Graham," he said. "But if anyone's name needs to be attached to the park, it's Thomas Bailey. I just think it would be a miscarriage of justice if Mr. Graham's name was added instead of Mr. Bailey's."
Fellow Walton County resident Bonnie McQuiston said she would like to see the park named after Gov. Robert Martinez.
"Gov. Martinez was responsible for initiating Preservation 2000," McQuiston said, "and he also began many other environmental programs in Florida ."
Preservation 2000 was a program the Florida Legislature began in 1990. It was intended to preserve as much of the states unspoiled lands as possible.
McQuiston said that during the big boom development years Gov. Martinez had really pushed preservation.
"At the time Gov. Lawton Chiles was pro-development in Walton County and Robert Davis wanted to develop Seaside all the way to Grayton Beach ," McQuiston said. "We saw our property values going up because of the development they wanted, so we formed an organization to fight it."
McQuiston and her Beach to Bay Connection organization met with government officials and cabinet members to protest the development.
"We ultimately got Gov. Chiles vote overturned and we won," she said.
McQuiston told the Sun that she had never heard of the bill and planned to call Rep. Coley and Sen. Gaetz about the proposed name change.
She added "if they want to name the park after Bob Graham, they should get some history on the park first."
"I don’t want to name this after some politician, just because he is a politician," she said. "I don’t think people paid attention to this. I don’t think people are even aware of the change."
Vudeo: Grayton State Park