By RUBY KEARCE
The DeFuniak Springs (DFS) Beautification and Tree board met Thursday, Sep. 1, at DFS City Hall. Cindy Permenter, secretary to Mayor Bob Campbell, approached the board with an opportunity proposed to her. Permenter recently spoke with Justin Baldwin, a representative for the Office of Greenways and Trails, who offered to provide recommendations and guidance to the board in regards to nature trails in DFS. Baldwin discussed grant opportunities and pointed out how this project could advance public health and transportation options.
Mayor Cambell was in attendance and highlighted a piece of property near the water management office on U.S. Hwy. 331. This property has a valley with a natural source of water and cannot be used for commercial purposes but would make a wonderful area for a nature trail.
Baldwin is waiting for approval from the Office of Greenways and Trails to travel to DFS for a workshop. In the meantime, Permenter wanted to ensure the date and time of the proposed workshop was beneficial for the DFS Beautification and Tree Board to be in attendance. Permenter would like to hold the workshop during Florida City Government Week, Oct 17-23, at the Chautauqua Building, which will be sponsored by the city. The board agreed that anytime after 5 p.m. on Tuesday or Wednesday of that week would be ideal.
Member Sommer Adams volunteered to create a graphic for the initial marketing of the board’s new Tree Donation Policy, and she suggested that the board choose a specific park to be an “edible park” where people can donate fruit trees and bushes, which would be the next marketing campaign for the Tree Donation Policy. The board will bring their recommendations to the next meeting for a decision.
This brought the discussion to the Master Parks Plan recommendation to connect all parks via biking/ walking trails. Adams posed the question as to how this would improve the city of DFS. Board Chair Kim Wennerberg had already asked Downtown Redevelopment Services the same thing, and the answer was that this would improve community health and provide forms of transportation other than driving. Since this is meant to be done incrementally, the board has decided to start by choosing two parks to connect and beautify simultaneously. This will item will be discussed further at the next meeting.
In other news, The board discussed the repainting of the railroad depot, which the city already has scheduled for March, but Wennerberg would like to see it done before the start of Christmas Reflections at the end of November. Tony Brunson agreed and added that Baldwin is looking refreshed and new and that the depot should be done to match. A motion was carried to recommend that the DFS City Council have the depot repainted prior to the start of the Christmas Reflections at the end of November.
Then, Glen Harrison ended the meeting with the suggestion of changing the name of Pat Covell Park #2 to honor Rev. Tyrone Broadus. Broadus is not only locally known, but nationally known as well. He was the first African American appointed to the Presidential Honor Guard. Broadus is also well known by residents near Pat Covell Park #2. Harrison suggested adding memorial plaques to parks that tell the story of the park’s namesake. The board supports the idea and will be discussing it in meetings to come. If the board moves forward with the name change and adding the plaque, they would also like to update the park.