Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Church breaks ground for common area in downtown Brooksville

An artist’s rendering shows the Brooksville Common. The park should be completed by December.


An artist’s rendering shows the Brooksville Common. The park should be completed by December.

BROOKSVILLE — With the turn of a few shovels of dirt, a longtime dream by members of First United Methodist Church of Brooksville was launched this week that will turn an unused plot of land on Broad Street into a community gathering spot.

About three dozen people turned out Wednesday for the groundbreaking for Brooksville Common, a landscaped mini-park that will offer a place for people to gather for lunch, coffee or just to relax and meditate, said church member Dr. Gary Wilson, one of the principals behind the project.

"This is for the entire community to come and enjoy," Wilson said. "My hope is that people will find it a peaceful place to be and that they will want to come here often."

Sandwiched between the church's east parking lot and another parking lot next to Patricia's Boutique, the setting will feature its relationship with the church, with lighted stone tablets bearing the Ten Commandments and a Tree of Life metal sculpture by Brooksville artist James Oleson with "living water" flowing from its trunk. At the far end of the common, a covered pavilion and garden area will provide a venue for outdoor weddings, church services, concerts, festivals, block parties and other activities.

The idea to convert the vacant space into a community park was launched in 2009 by a committee of church leaders that included longtime Brooksville residents Dave Milliman, Joe Mason and Gene Manuel. Although a number of ideas were presented, everyone felt it would be best to focus on the site's historic past.

In 1914, the city's original First Presbyterian Church was built there and remained for nearly 40 years until the congregation relocated to Bell Avenue. For a time, the building housed Carlton's Meat Market. To commemorate the Presbyterian church, a memorial will be installed featuring a sketch drawn by the late Brooksville artist Lewis Watkins.

Wilson said that although First United Methodist provided seed money for the $180,000 project, most funding came from donations by church members and local businesses, and from the sale of memorial paving stones. The project also received a $10,000 community development grant from the city.

Wilson said that work on clearing the property is scheduled to begin within a week, and the park should be completed by December.

Logan Neill can be reached at or (352) 848-1435.

Church breaks ground for common area in downtown Brooksville 08/21/13 [Last modified: Thursday, August 22, 2013 8:54pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Clearwater officer fired after investigation reveals use of unnecessary force on teen

    Public Safety

    A Clearwater police officer was fired after an internal investigation found he used unnecessary force on a teenager in custody, the agency said Wednesday.

  2. Meadowlawn Middle School teacher arrested on molestation charges


    ST. PETERSBURG — A Meadowlawn Middle School teacher was arrested Wednesday morning on charges that he molested three underage girls, police said.

    Joseph Zavalnak, 41, a Meadowlawn Middle School teacher, was arrested May 24, 2017on charges that he molested three underage girls, police said. He faces  five counts of lewd and lascivious molestation. The victims were between the ages of 12 and 18, police said. [Pinellas County Sheriff's Office]
  3. Letter from 'many' St. Petersburg High faculty, staff to Pinellas School Board pushes for assistant principal to be next principal


    A St. Petersburg High teacher sent a letter on the behalf of "many" school faculty and staff to the Pinellas County School Board and school district superintendent Mike Grego in support of appointing their assistant principal, Darlene Lebo, as principal.

    Darlene Lebo, an assistant principal at St. Petersburg High, is supported by "many" school faculty and staff to be the school's next principal, according to a letter sent to the Pinellas County School Board.
  4. 2017 Florida Theme Park Guide: A look at this summer's top attractions


    Florida's theme parks are getting ready for their busiest season with new rides, shows and perks, and we have rounded up a guide to the best new things to see.

    The newest fireworks presentation at Magic Kingdom uses lasers, lights, projections and pyrotechnics showing characters and scenes from more than 25 Disney films. [Walt Disney World]
  5. Meet 'rave pops,' the EDM-loving, hard-dancing 72-year-old who went viral via the Sunset Music Festival (w/video)

    Music & Concerts

    Alan Grofé is a 72-year-old, semi-retired entrepreneur and former tech executive with frost-white hair, two grown children and five grandchildren.

    Alan Grofe dances at the Electric Daisy Carnival festival in Orlando in 2016. [aLIVE Coverage for Insomniac]