Park dedicated to former county commissioner
By Jessica Creagan
INDIAN RIVER COUNTY -- Last weekend Indian River County unveiled two new things to the community, the Richard "Dick" Bird County Park and its four multipurpose fields.
The park on 20th Avenue between Fifth Street S.W. and Oslo Road was renamed on Nov. 2 after former Indian River County Commissioner Bird, who was a major supporter of the county parks and recreation system, and an integral part of helping to create what has been known as South County Regional Park.
Mr. Bird, still a part-time Indian River County resident, was present at the name dedication and ribbon cutting ceremony.
The park, which already had four ball fields, two tennis courts, two basketball courts, a playground, concession stand, restrooms and a press box, now has four multipurpose fields that are perfect for lacrosse and other sports played on an open grassy space.
The park's namesake was well-known for his support of the county parks and recreation department during his tenure from 1981 to 1996, said Alma Lee Loy, also a former county commissioner.
"I am proud of what the county does for the recreational facilities, they are just wonderful. That department does so much for so many," she said.
Bobby Bird, son of Mr. Bird and a local businessman, remembers that during his father's time on the commission, several projects besides the park near Oslo were begun.
"It's tough to comment on your father, because, well, he's your father," said Bobby Bird.
"He was a county commissioner for 16 years and he was chairman of the parks and recreation commission. It was something he loved. He has always loved the outdoors, so the parks and recreation is just who he is," Bobby Bird said.
Former Commissioner Bird was involved in acquiring the Indian River County Fairgrounds and the area where today there are soccer fields managed by the Indian River Soccer Association, and also in helping to create Sandridge Golf Course.
Local lacrosse players took to the fields on Saturday to test them out and give the crowd at the dedication ceremony a taste of what will come now that the fields are ready for games.
The four fully-lit fields have electronic scoreboards and bleachers that seat 200. The fields also boast restrooms and a concession area.
"I really do think it is the best lacrosse facility out there today," said Penny Chandler, director of the Indian River County Chamber of Commerce.
Ms. Chandler also is a board member of the nonprofit group that will be managing the facility for the county, the Indian River Lacrosse Association, or IRLAX.
The Indian River Lacrosse Association was created to provide services to promote the growth, recognition and development of lacrosse for the student athletes of Indian River County. In doing so, the association's members hope to encourage the development of sportsmanship, character, self-confidence, leadership and responsibility, the nonprofit's website said.
The organization's agreement with Indian River County is similar to the managing agreement that fellow nonprofit organization Indian River Soccer Association has acquired with the county.
For more information about parks in Indian River County, visit www.ircgov.com/departments/General_Services/Parks/Index.htm.
For more information about the Indian River Lacrosse Association, visit www.irlax.org.