TOM PETTY Park In Gainesville, FL To Receive Official Marker

New plaque will be dedicated on Petty's birthday in October

August 7, 2019

Matt Archer / Getty Images

In March of 2018, five months after the death of Rocker TOM PETTY, his hometown of Gainesville Florida turned to the community seeking a way to publicly honor Petty "in a lasting and meaningful way."   A press release had been issued at that time by the city's Strategic Initiatives and Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs (PRCA) Departments, and after reviewing the initial feedback, they chose from about 6 viable options and decided that 'renaming a city park or facility' was the way to go. On October 20, 2018, (TP's birthday) the former Northeast Park on 16th Ave. in Gainesville was renamed and is now forevermore known as Tom Petty Park. Fast forward to this past August 2nd, where it's been announced that Florida will follow up on the renaming of the park by voting to erect a metal plaque in memory of the city’s native son. The Florida Historical Marker Council revealed that a ceremony to unveil the marker will take place on October 20, once again on the classic rock legend’s birthday. The PRCA director, Steve Phillips had said previously that “The response to Tom Petty’s passing has been very strong, which is understandable given the great love this community has for him. He has made a lasting impact on our culture, and the city wishes to help remember his legacy in a meaningful way,” Nearly 2,000 Gainesville residents voted for their choice. Of the park where Petty and his younger brother Bruce whiled away many hours, the younger Petty had said, “We were there a lot – it was like an extension of our yard. We could literally walk past four houses, cross 16th, then we were there.” Additionally, the area was memorialized in a 1975 single, “Depot Street,” by Heartbreakers precursor Mudcrutch. (listen below!) Bruce Petty added,“Gainesville events hold something special. “I think Tom would be extremely grateful to grow up in Gainesville and see the people honor him like this.”