Dr. Robert B. Hayling Freedom Park dedication this Saturday
The City of St. Augustine will host a dedication ceremony for the Dr. Robert B. Hayling Freedom Park on Saturday, September 24 at 10:30am, just prior to the opening of the Lincolnville Festival. The public is invited to join city officials and members of Dr. Hayling’s family for the official opening of the city’s newest public space located at the southern end of Riberia St.
Named in honor of a leader of the Civil Rights Movement in St. Augustine in the early 1960s, the nearly nine acre park with its panoramic view of the San Sebastian and Matanzas Rivers will undoubtedly become a favorite place for reflection, recreation and relaxation for the St. Augustine community.
Dr. Hayling’s leadership in the cause of civil rights in St. Augustine has been recognized in many ways including his being a recipient of Florida A & M University’s Distinguished Alumni Award, Florida Memorial University’s Nathan W. Collier Meritorious Service Award, and being the namesake of the Dr. Robert B. Hayling Award of Valor, created by former Florida State Senator Tony Hill.
The city has recognized Hayling by naming the street where he once lived Dr. Robert B. Hayling Place, and by awarding him the city’s two highest honors, the de Avilés Award in 2011 and the Order of La Florida in 2013. Hayling is the only person to receive both awards. Dr. Hayling died in 2015.
The park’s dedication ceremony will include remarks by St. Augustine Mayor Nancy Shaver, City Manager John Regan, and former St. Johns County School Superintendent Otis Mason. City Commissioner Leanna Freeman, who sponsored the resolution naming the park for Hayling, will emcee for the program and will offer concluding remarks. Members of the Hayling family have also been invited to offer remarks.
The dedication ceremony coincides with the opening day of the Lincolnville Festival at Eddie Vickers Park, located adjacent to the new park. A special feature of the day will be the participation by The Lincolnville Brass Band, which will march from the Lincolnville Museum and Cultural Center, 102 Martin Luther King Ave. to the dedication ceremony site. The community is invited to join in the procession from the museum, site of the former Excelsior High School, to the new park prior to the start of the ceremony.
For more information regarding the ceremony, contact the city’s Public Affairs Department at 904.825.1004.