The much-awaited grand opening and dedication of Mullet Creek Park was so highly anticipated, the ceremony brought out a 'who's who' of Safety Harbor movers and shakers both past and present.
Mayor Joe Ayoub, Vice Mayor Cliff Merz and Commissioner Nancy Besore were joined by two former Safety Harbor mayors, city officials, members of organizations who worked on the project as well as dozens of residents and other interested parties.
The gathering, under somewhat cloudy but thankfully rain free skies, was a celebration of the new 2.5 acre greenspace on the outskirts of downtown, which took more than five years from conception to completion at a cost of $433,000.
"As you look around at this massively beautiful park, it's taken a lot of time and dedication," City Manager Matt Spoor told the crowd. "We couldn't be prouder for today's events and activities here at this park."
Following a moment of silence in honor of the victims in Boston and Texas, Mayor Ayoub introduced some of those in attendance and talked about the importance of the park to the community.
"I'd like to recognize some people that are here before I jump into the 'thank you's' of all the talented people who were involved in bringing this park to fruition," he said.
The mayor then went on to acknowledge some of those in attendence, including Pinellas County Commissioner Karen Seel, former city officials Debbie White and Nadine Nickeson, and former Safety Harbor mayors Andy Steingold and Pam Corbino.
After thanking many of the employees, artists, contractors and volunteers who contributed to the completion of the park, Mayor Ayoub moved on to the dedication of the facility in Nickeson's name.
"There's a lot of people that we could have potentially dedicated this park to," he said, "but there is one person in my mind...that exemplifies several different aspects of community service, of public service and volunteering and community service, and that is Nadine Nickeson."
Nickeson, an active community member and former city commissioner, gratefully accepted the honor while joking how nice it is to receive while she is still around to appreciate it.
"I can't imagine a higher honor than having a park dedicated to you," she said. "But a friend told me she received a call from another friend...who said, 'Is Nadine alright?'"
"Sometimes we leave before we know we've made an impression," she continued. "But I'm alright, and you'll see me here and around town. I love our city...and I just love this park."
The official ribbon cutting ceremony followed, and after that everyone mingled, toured the grounds and talked about what a wonderful addition Mullet Creek Park is to the city's award-winning parks system.
"I think it turned out better than we envisioned. Everything came together - the art, the landscaping, the playground equipment," City Planner Ana Mena said.
"It's rewarding to see people already enjoying it. That's what it's all about."
County Commissioner Seel might have delivered the highest praise of all when she told Patch, "This park is the result of a tremendous partnership with the city of Safety Harbor and the county."
"We haven't done a park like this before, so we're hoping this park can be an example for the rest of the county."
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- Mullet Creek Park Already Drawing Raves
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- Safety Harbor 'Treasure' to Have Park Dedicated in Her Honor
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