The name remains the same at the North Greenwood Recreation and Aquatics Complex.
City leaders, who tasked Parks and Recreation Advisory board members to come up with a new name for the center in January, decided not to approve renaming it after community leader Rev. Walter C. Campbell or Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at their meeting Thursday.
The choices the advisory board brought forward came from the public during an April meeting. They were:
- Walter C. Campbell Sr. Recreation and Aquatic Complex
- Walter C. Campbell Sr. Community Center
- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Center
A nearby center with King’s name recently closed and many of its programs moved into the North Greenwood facility.
The Martin Luther King Center was closed because of costly repairs needed to the structure. The center was operated under an agreement between the city and Pinellas County Schools, who owned the building and land. A group is working on negotiating a lease with the school board and planning to reopen the center.
Alma Bridges spoke to the council in support of renaming it after King. She talked about an NAACP petition with 1,000 signatures in favor of naming it in honor of King.
“We feel like the old programs moved from the old building,” Bridges said. “(You) should have moved the name also.”
About 150 residents came out in support of naming the center after Rev. Walter C. Campbell at a Parks and Recreation Advisory board meeting in April. Only a handful of the public speakers were in favor of naming it after King there.
June Caruso, of Dunedin, spoke in favor of naming the complex after Campbell Thursday.
“Campbell was a local influence, who made sure renovation and development in the community were there,” Caruso said. “He helped to rebuild the trust between the City of Clearwater and the neighborhood of North Greenwood.”
Officials wondered why the list of names also did not include keeping the North Greenwood moniker as an option at their work session meeting Monday.
Mayor George N. Cretekos asked Kevin Dunbar, director of the Parks and Recreation Department, if there were other complete facilities named after a community member.
Dunbar said that at one time, when the Ross Norton complex was smaller (before other parts of the facility were added and named after community leaders), it was only named after him. Dunbar said other park facilities have been named after one person.
Dunbar was surprised when the council did not take any action to select a name, although they could sometime in the future, he said.
Still, a picture of King is emblazoned on a glass window at the entrance of the North Greenwood complex. Surrounding the image are the words: "Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Neighborhood Family Center."
*updated 12:57 p.m. June 8, 2012