Tribute to two former mayors: new names proposed for the park and the community center

A permanent memorial for one of Mandarin’s favorite sons is being considered by the Jacksonville City Council – renaming the sprawling Mandarin Park for former Mayor Tommy Hazouri.

And as lawmakers mull over that renaming for an iconic lawmaker who died just over a year ago, a separate bill seeks to name a new community center in Mayport for the former mayor of Jacksonville Beach, Bill Gulliford, who retired from City Council in 2019.

Thomas L. ‘Tommy’ Hazouri Sr Park

The first ordinance proposes renaming the park at 14780 Mandarin Road in honor of the man who served as a community council member from 2015 until his death in September 2021. The park has a boat ramp water along Julianton Creek. as well as a fishing pier, nature walks, and other amenities.

Calling him a trusted and beloved civic leader, the bill says Hazouri “measured every decision against his signature sentiment which sets the standard for what should and must take place in the council chamber: ‘Everything must be about Jacksonville. “”

“During his tenure, his experience and leadership helped guide the Board through several tumultuous issues, including the proposed privatization of JEA, the sales tax for the pension amortization plan, the expansion of the local gas tax to meet infrastructure needs and several Jacksonville Jaguars stadiums-area development proposals,” the bill says, citing his “lifelong concern for the interests and well- be citizens of Jacksonville”.

Hazouri was elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 1974, then elected mayor in 1987. The ordinance recounts how he fought to reduce odors from private manufacturing and processing plants and pushed voters to approve a sales tax to replace tolls on city bridges. .

He was elected to the Duval County School Board in 2004, appointed chair in 2008. And in 2015 he was elected to the city council, re-elected, and then appointed chair of the board for 2020-21. He underwent a lung transplant in mid-2020 and returned to city council, but died of complications aged 76.

William ‘Bill’ Gulliford Jr. Community Center

Meanwhile, another bill seeks to name the new 5,900 square foot community center at David Wayne Pack Park in Mayport for Gulliford.

And the bill also calls for a city ordinance that does not allow a facility to be named for a living person to be lifted, “based on its continued and unwavering support and service to the communities of Beaches and to the city of Jacksonville.”

The park at 4875 Ocean St., complete with playground, basketball court and picnic pavilion, was renamed in 1995 in memory of Pack for service to the Mayport community. The bill to name his new community center was introduced in June to honor Gulliford’s service.

Gulliford served on the Atlantic Beach City Commission, then was elected in 1988 as mayor of Atlantic Beach until 1993. He was elected in 2011 to the Jacksonville City Council, serving as president in during the 2013-2014 council year.

Both bills have been reviewed by the council committee and are awaiting final approval.

Jill E. Washington