Memorial Park preservationists celebrate 30 years of restoration and repair

Memorial Park preservationists celebrate 30 years of restoration and repair
Betty Rosenbloom, Karen McCombs, MPA vice president at-large, with guest speaker Laurence Cotton

More than six decades after Memorial Park was dedicated to the memory of 1,220 Floridians who died in service during World War I, a group of park enthusiasts and local philanthropists decided to tackle the decline and disrepair into which the historic park had fallen.

In 1986, the Memorial Park Association was formed to protect and preserve the national treasure, designed by the Olmsted Brothers, sons of the landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted, who had designed New York’s Central Park.

Thirty years later, the nonprofit celebrated its achievements at a reception Jan. 11 at Haskell Company, where Olmsted authority Laurence Cotton spoke to a gathering of more than 80 guests.

Through 2012, the Association’s numerous projects and initiatives included the installation of ornamental metal fencing around the perimeter and upgrades to the irrigation and lighting systems, the planting of oaks and other native vegetation, the renovation of the entrance piers, plaza, balustrades, and fountain basin, the dedication of marble benches to honor various important friends of Memorial Park. In the most recent four years, MPA has overseen several major efforts to restore and rehabilitate Memorial Park to its original grandeur, most notably,  including restoration of the fountain and statue, and of the central lawn, including drainage, irrigation and sod.

New officers and board members were welcomed at the reception. After serving two one-year terms as president, Agnes Danciger moves to the Board of Directors and turned the gavel over to Percy Rosenbloom III, who will serve as president. Timothy Burleigh was elected executive vice president, Barbara H. Arnold is secretary, while Matthew Cochran will again serve as treasurer, and vice presidents at large will be Michele Luthin and Karen McCombs.

Luthin will also serve as chair of the Communications & Marketing Committee and will oversee media and public relations. Danciger will also serve as the Board Affairs Committee chair.

Joining the board this year for the first time are Gerri Boyce, Laurie Jarvis, Alexandria Klempf, Michele Luthin and Dylan Phillips, while outgoing board members include F. Terry Hallihan, Holly Keris, Joann F. Meyer and Robin Patton.

By Kate A. Hallock
Resident Community News

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