Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Park Boulevard may become the latest memorial to Bill Young

U.S. Rep. Bill Young’s name would be on “just one or two signs.”

U.S. Rep. Bill Young’s name would be on “just one or two signs.”

The road, one of the county's few east-west corridors, goes by many names.

To Florida transportation officials, it's State Road 694. To locals, the portion east of U.S. 19 is known as Gandy Boulevard. West of 19, it's Park Boulevard.

Soon, it could have a fourth name: Congressman C.W. Bill Young Memorial Highway.

The idea to name the roadway after the longtime congressman was the brainchild of Pinellas Park Mayor Sandy Bradbury. Bradbury said she wished to honor Young, 82, who died in October after 43 years in the U.S. House of Representatives. Young grew up in Pinellas Park and retained ties with the city throughout his life. He was instrumental in bringing the C.W. Bill Young Armed Forces Reserve Center, 2801 Grand Ave. N, to the city.

When Bradbury first proposed the idea during a City Council workshop in January, the proposal was to name only that portion of the road lying within the city limits — from the intersection of 28th Street N/Grand Avenue and Gandy, just east of U.S. 19, to a spot just east of the Wagon Wheel Flea Market, 7801 Park Blvd. But after that, the proposal blossomed as Pinellas Park officials contacted Pinellas County and Seminole city officials to get buy-in to rename the sections of the road that were in their jurisdictions. Both agreed to the proposal, and it was sent off to state Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, the head of the county's legislative delegation and chair of the Senate transportation committee. If the proposal makes it through the Legislature, the state Department of Transportation will make some signs and schedule a ceremony.

Supporters of the proposal stress that the memorial is just that and not a renaming of the road itself.

"We are not going to change the address of anybody," Seminole Mayor Leslie Waters said.

Although Young has other things named after him, Waters said she doesn't believe adding the memorial name to Park is too much.

"It's justified," she said. "He grew up in Pinellas Park. … He lived in Pinellas Park, so that was kind of his base. His congressional office was in Seminole. … I do think it's a deserved recognition."

Besides, she said, people won't see the signs "every three blocks. It's just one or two signs."

Those will likely be at the Grand-Gandy intersection and the western end of Park — at Indian Shores.

The new name did not come without a bit of controversy. When Bradbury first proposed the idea, her council was not unanimous in its support. The Tampa Bay Times had just written a news article telling of Young's convoluted personal life and a first wife and family that had been relegated to the background. Council member Patti Johnson had referred to the article in wondering if it was appropriate to name Park after him.

But on Monday, Johnson said she had put her objection "to rest" because enough time had passed to allow emotions to cool a bit.

"I'm going along with it," Johnson said. "He did do a lot for everyone. … It was just the timing right then. We needed to take a step back and wait for it to resolve itself."

Anne Lindberg can be reached at alindberg@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8450. Follow @ALindbergTimes on Twitter.

Park Boulevard may become the latest memorial to Bill Young 03/18/14 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 18, 2014 1:52pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Pinellas construction licensing board looking for ways to fill financial hole

    Local Government

    LARGO — The Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board's interim leader told the governing board Tuesday that the troubled agency is looking for ways to climb out of its

  2. Adam Putnam calls for special session on medical marijuana

    Blogs

    Florida Commissioner of Agriculture and Republican candidate for governor Adam Putnam wants state lawmakers to come back to Tallahassee in a special session to finish the work on medical marijuana that they started but didn't finish earlier this month.

    Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam is a candidate for governor in 2018.
  3. We Tried That: Working on a food truck for a day

    Cooking

    What we tried: It seems like everyone and their mother wants to open a food truck.

    Carlynn Crosby prepares food at the Empamamas food truck in the Cigar City Brewing parking lot in Tampa this month. For a variety of reasons, food trucking is not for the faint of heart.
  4. Local child welfare non-profits lose funding as Eckerd Kids focuses on keeping children out of foster care

    News

    When it comes to getting children out of foster care, the non-profit group Directions for Living has one of the best records in Florida.

    Eckerd Kids
  5. Carlton: A little less swagger, Mr. Mayor?

    Politics

    In the dispute-gone-national over a bad joke uttered by Tampa's mayor, it is instructive to recall the nickname bestowed upon him by the local military.

    Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn fires a .50 caliber machine gun from a rigid hull inflatable boat during the International Special Operations Capabilities Demonstration at the Tampa Convention Center Wednesday, June 25, 2016. JAMES BORCHUCK   |   Times