Manatee County Highlights New Courts and a New Street Name

Manatee County Highlights New Courts and a New Street Name
Posted on 05/03/2022
MANATEE COUNTY, FL (May 3, 2022) – Highlighting what’s new and exciting in Manatee County’s G.T. Bray Park, a ribbon cutting for new pickleball courts -- and the dedication of a newly-named street -- will take place Friday morning, May 6.

Beginning at 8:00 a.m., 33rd Avenue Drive West will be officially re-named to honor a man who loved and supported parks and education in our community. New signage designating the main road through the park as Wilbur Boyd Boulevard will be unveiled by local leaders.

Wilbur Harrison Boyd was born in Terra Ceia in 1927. A graduate of Palmetto High, he attended Stetson University and entered politics in 1958, representing the 28th District in the Florida House of Representatives. He encouraged the idea of outdoor recreational areas in his district, and at one time pursued efforts to establish a preserve in Myakka.

The Manatee County Parks & Recreation Department was formed by the Board of County Commissioners in the summer of 1965. After his election to the Florida Senate in 1966, Boyd helped initiate the state junior college system; and worked to establish a Manatee-area campus of the University of South Florida (USF). 1972, he was instrumental in appropriating funds for a study of higher education needs in Southwest Florida, including USF and Manatee Junior College (now State College of Florida Manatee-Sarasota).

Immediately following that ceremony, there will be a formal ribbon-cutting for the newly renovated C.V. Walton Racquet Center.

In 1985, Mr. Walton -- a longtime resident of Manatee County – made a donation to the Parks and Recreation Department to build 4 public clay tennis courts at G. T. Bray Park. He was an avid tennis player himself and offered his tennis expertise to all. In 1988, Mr. Walton made another donation to the park to add an additional 4 clay courts at Bray. Those donations helped Manatee County’s first public clay tennis courts open, expand and thrive before he passed. The expansion into pickleball at the center represents a new commitment to this growing participatory sport.

Once the ribbon is cut, the courts will be open to the public, with clinics and exhibitions through the morning.