By Jill Fox
Six Parkland facilities will soon be renamed in honor of residents who made significant contributions to the community.
On June 9, the city’s dedication committee met to assure the naming of the facilities was done with careful thought and consideration, making their recommendation to the commission at Wednesday’s meeting.
The proposed namings included former Parkland mayors, victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre, and the founder of the Parkland Soccer Club.
Since Alyssa Alhadeff, a victim of the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas, was passionate about soccer, her mother, Lori, requested Field 8 at Pine Trails Park be named in her honor.
“Alyssa played the best soccer game of her life on Field 8,” wrote Lori. “I know that we can’t bring her back, but to continue her legacy means the world to me.”
The children’s wing of the Parkland Library will be named after another victim, Gina Montalto, whose family felt she should be remembered in a happy, vibrant place where she spent so many hours.
“Please let Gina’s legacy be smile and laughter, not tragedy,” wrote Gina’s mother, Jennifer.
Pete Gado started Parkland Soccer 33 years ago and, since its inception, has played a huge role in the program. He passed away suddenly on October 30, 2020, at 73-years-old. Doug Cole, President of Parkland Soccer, asked that Pine Trails Park Field 2 be named after Gado.
“In the early days, Pete would cut the grass, line the fields, and position cars with their headlights on for night games,” said Cole. “He did so much for the kids and the city of Parkland.”
Former mayors Harold Bockhold, Anne “Becky” Gerren, and Bruce B. Blount will be honored with namings at the equestrian center, fire station, and municipal complex.
The committee’s recommendations were unanimously approved by the commission.
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- Jill Fox is an Emmy Award-winning writer and producer. She has worked in public relations and television for over 20 years. Fox lives in Parkland with her husband and their two children.