Honoring two former mayors: New names proposed for park and community center
A Jacksonville City Council bill would rename a Mandarin park after the late Tommy Hazouri, and a new Mayport community center could bear the name of Bill Gulliford.
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 name change for an iconic lawmaker who died just over a year ago, a separate bill seeks to name a new Mayport community center for former Jacksonville Beach Mayor Bill Gulliford, who retired from the 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 was the community's council member from 2015 until his death in September 2021. The park has a boat ramp along Julington 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 hallmark sentiment that sets the standard for what should and must take place in the Council Chamber: 'It has to be all about Jacksonville.'"
"During his tenure, his experience and leadership helped guide the Council through several tumultuous issues, including the proposed privatization of JEA, the sales tax for pension amortization plan, the expansion of the local option gas tax for meeting infrastructure needs and several Jacksonville Jaguars stadium-area development proposals," the bill says, citing his "life-long concern for the interests and well-being of Jacksonville’s citizens."
Hazouri was elected in 1974 to the Florida House of Representatives, then elected Mayor in 1987. The ordinance relates how he fought for reduced odors from private manufacturing and processing plants and pushed for voters to approve a sales tax to replace the tolls on the city’s bridges.
He was elected in 2004 to the Duval County School Board, appointed as chairman in 2008. And in 2015, he was elected to the City Council, reelected, then named council president for 2020-21. He underwent a lung transplant mid-2020 and returned to the City Council, but died after complications at age 76.
William ‘Bill’ Gulliford Jr. Community Center
Meanwhile, another piece of legislation seeks to name the new 5,900-square-foot community center at David Wayne Pack Park in Mayport for Gulliford.
And the bill also asks that a city ordinance that doesn't allow a facility to be named for someone who is alive to be waived, "based upon his continued and unwavering support of and service to the Beaches communities and to the City of Jacksonville."
The park at 4875 Ocean St., with playground, basketball court and picnic pavilion, was renamed in 1995 in remembrance of Pack for service to the Mayport Community. The bill to name its 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 Atlantic Beach mayor though 1993. He was elected in 2011 to the Jacksonville City Council, serving as its president in the 2013-2014 council year.
Both bills have gone through council committee reviews and await final approval.