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    List of rec center names lengthens

    Suggestions include giving the recreation and aquatics center a general name or naming it after the neighborhood it will be in, North Greenwood, or after local leaders.

    By CHRISTINA HEADRICK

    © St. Petersburg Times,
    published July 28, 2001


    CLEARWATER -- With the city planning to break ground on a $4.2-million recreation and aquatics center in the North Greenwood area in November, the facility's name is up for debate.

    City administrators have informally dubbed the new facility the Northwest Clearwater Recreation and Aquatics Center. Such a generic name recognizes that the facility will be the city's largest recreation complex and will likely draw residents from throughout Clearwater, according to Kevin Dunbar, the city's parks and recreation director.

    But recently, the North Greenwood Association petitioned the city's Parks and Recreation Board to name the center after the neighborhood in which it will be located. Then the parks board recommended the facility be called the North Greenwood Recreation Complex.

    Jonathan Wade, the North Greenwood Association president and a member of the parks board, said such a name would reinforce a positive image of the neighborhood and would be in line with the naming of most other city recreation centers.

    The recreation center in Clearwater Beach is named after Clearwater Beach, Wade said. "Morningside is named after Morningside. Countryside is named after Countryside," he said. "It's just keeping in line with what's been done at other centers."

    The City Commission will name the center in September. But there are other proposals for them to consider.

    Mayme Hodges, a North Greenwood resident and former city commissioner, recently suggested that the center be named after the late Joseph Carwise, an associate school superintendent who lived in North Greenwood.

    Carwise did a lot for the city, Hodges said. He served as the first black member of the Clearwater City Commission for three terms in the 1970s.

    In addition, Carwise was an assistant principal of the former all-black Pinellas High School on Palmetto Street. After achieving his doctorate in schools administration, he worked for the county school system directing the court-mandated busing plan for desegregation.

    "I was thinking, here's somebody who came from that area and built himself up and did a lot of good things," Hodges said.

    Hodges also suggested the city name the complex for retired Florida Supreme Court and U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Justice Joseph Hatchett, another former Clearwater resident.

    But Hodges said she is not campaigning for any name.

    "I just think that all things should be considered," she said.

    Additional suggestions made by others include naming the new recreation complex for Terry Griggley, a former star basketball and football player at Clearwater High School who worked for the Clearwater Parks and Recreation Department as a counselor. Griggley died in a car accident a year ago, and his family sought to have his name considered.

    The parks board suggested a compromise: While naming the center the North Greenwood Recreation Complex, the gymnasiums could be named in honor of Carwise and Griggley. (Wade noted that Carwise already has a middle school named after him in Pinellas.)

    The outdoor aquatics area should be named for Ray Green, the parks board recommended. Part of the recreation center is to be built on a softball field named previously for Green, a former city mayor, county circuit court clerk and state comptroller.

    The board suggested that the city consider creating a wall of fame inside the new center on which plaques could be hung recognizing other outstanding area residents.

    The center will include a high-tech teen center and the largest municipal water slide in Pinellas County, a 20-foot-high, 140-foot-long curvy flume. It will also have a children's wading pool, a large swimming pool, a fitness center, a classroom for aerobics and other activities and a gymnasium with two basketball courts.

    After a name is chosen and the ground is broken in November, the new facility is slated to be built in a year, Dunbar said. At the same time, the city will be building a new city branch library across North Greenwood Avenue and working on a street beautification program for the avenue.

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