LAKE WALES – Mobley Park might be getting a new name to honor a long-time Lake Wales family with a tradition of city service.
David Smith, a lifelong resident of the Lake Wales area, asked city commissioners last week to consider renaming the play area in honor of current Lake Wales commissioner Terrye Howell, and family. Howell has served on that board for 14 years now.
Smith said city officials researching the park could not find any official action on naming the facility. Records were reviewed all the way back to 1925, he indicated.
He also said he had no recollection of why the park was named Mobley, other than that's the name of the short dead-end side street off Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard where the park is located.
“I don't know who Mobley was and nobody else knows who it was,” Smith said. “My plea is to have the park named after Terrye Howell and her family.”
Howell, in addition to being the longest-serving current city commissioner, is a long-time teacher at Spook Hill Elementary.
The board deferred action and will be brought back in the form of a resolution at a future meeting, largely to make sure no new information comes forward now that the idea has been made public.
There would be no renaming of the street, just the park city officials said.
“I think it's a good idea for anyone who's given service to the city the way they have,” Mayor Eugene Fultz said. “We will be doing something very good by doing this.”
Commissioner Robin Gibson also suggested that an appropriate plaque be included in the idea to help capture the history of the site.
Smith said the playground was largely the result of requests from a long-time city educator and father of Terrye Howell, Bob Howell. During a time of segregation in Lake Wales, Bob Howell wanted to make sure African-American youngsters had a place to play, and regularly appeared at city commission meetings before the idea became reality.