Tom Petty Hometown Park Renamed in His Honor
A park in Tom Petty’s hometown of Gainesville, Fla., was renamed in his honor on what would have been his 68th birthday on Saturday.
The former Northeast Park was a regular destination for the late Heartbreakers leader before and after he found fame. The dedication ceremony was part of a series of events across the city during the weekend, and took place in front of hundreds of attendees including friends and family.
“My brother and I grew up in this park,” Petty’s younger sibling, Bruce, said during the renaming ceremony, according to the Gainesville Sun. “My cousin reminded me the other day of my remark that it was a sanctuary, and it really was. It was a place for us to escape and be kids and have fun. The fact that we are doing this today, and the part we played in it, makes it so much more special.”
“Gainesville is an extraordinary place and if you listen to my dad’s music here, it has a different meaning,” Petty’s daughter Adria said. “The idea of the air smelling good and the trees are green – there is nothing like this park to really illustrate that.” She added that the recently released outtake “Gainesville” had been “blasting in her head” during her visit.
Among the other events were a series of local bands playing Petty songs, including a performance by the Bayjacks, featuring Tom Leadon, a former member of Petty’s early group Mudcrutch. Artists Carrie and Jesus Martinez auctioned a mural to benefit a local arts-in-medicine program. “We hope to make a lot of money for a really good cause,” Carrie said. “We’re Tom Petty fans. Everybody is a Tom Petty fan.”