Members of the St. Augustine City Commission led a dedication ceremony to officially mark the opening of the city’s newest park, the Hamilton Upchurch Neighborhood Park, Friday, April 24 at 9 a.m.
Many members of Upchurch's family including Tracy Upchurch, Upchurch's son, were among the approximate 200 persons who attended the ceremony. Beth Upchurch, Hamilton Upchurch's daughter-in-law and Tracy's wife, brought students of her 4th grade class from R. B. Hunt School which is located nearby the park at the intersection of Anastasia Blvd. and Red Cox Dr.
Upchurch Park’s family-friendly elements make it appealing to people of all ages. There is a picnic area, a fitness trail, playground equipment, nature overlook, and a beginner inline and skateboarding area.
Parents of children under the age of 17 must sign a consent waiver which can be found at the city's Web site under Forms and Application or by clicking here. The forms can also be obtained by visiting the City's Financial Services Center at 50 Bridge St. during business hours or the Surf Station, 1020 Anastasia Blvd.
The park was made possible through both public and private efforts to secure the necessary funding. On the public side, the State of Florida provided $200,000, St. Johns County contributed $100,000, and the City of St. Augustine contributed $70,000. On the private side, through the generosity of many people, the community matched the contribution of the city with an additional $70,000.
The park's namesake, Hamilton D. Upchurch, was a native of St. Augustine who devoted his life to the community as a public servant and civic leader. In 1951, as a general practice attorney, Upchurch joined his father, Frank D. Upchurch, Sr., in the established firm of Upchurch and Melton. Upchurch later became a states attorney and a St. Augustine city commissioner and mayor, before serving for a decade as a member of the Florida House of Representatives. Upchurch died in early January, 2008.
For more information on the dedication ceremony, call the Public Affairs Department at 825.1004.