New Park Dedication
Ribbon-cutting in the Neighborhood
Vice Mayor “Bicycle Bob” Welsh was memorialized with the dedication of a new neighborhood park in the Ludlam Elementary School area residential community along the Ludlam Glades canal. He passed suddenly in February 2021. He was known as a tree-loving community activist, our own “Johnny Appleseed” with planting Live Oaks and Dade Pines throughout the county.
Vice Mayor Robert C. Welsh Jr. Park officially opened to the public on Tuesday, August 9, 2023. The new park features include open green space, a basketball half-court, a playground area with a poured-in-place protective surface, a prefabricated shelter, an accessible concrete sidewalk, benches, a bike rack, a water fountain, and other park amenities.
Former mayor Philip Stoddard and former commissioner Walter Harris fondly remembered their colleague and friend. Christopher Boykin, Executive Director of the Pelican Harbor Seabird Station spoke of the support both Bob and his wife Marilyn had given over the years, and the welcoming open space in the park. Area resident John Palenchar expressed appreciation to the city’s administration and particularly the parks department for being responsive to the neighborhood desires in planning the park.
The city acquired the property (16,730 SF or 0.38 acres) roughly 4 years ago in September 2019 for the sole purpose of converting the lot into a neighborhood pocket park. In January 2020, city staff conducted a 9-month planning and design process. The city officially took over management and operation of the property in October 2020. The single-family house was demolished in January 2021. The park was renamed to Vice Mayor Robert C. Welsh Jr. Park from Ludlam Glades Park in March 2021. Two years later from the initial planning and design process, in 2022, community members desired a redesign of the park that incorporated more open green, which now represents more than 70% of the park.