EDITORIAL: The winner of the naming contest is . . . Centennial Place

Three months ago, in our New Year’s issue, we launched the VeroNews.com “Name That Property Contest” soliciting reader input on a name for the lagoon-front property owned by the city at the west end of the Alma Lee Loy Bridge.

Our goal was to help Vero come up with a classy, meaningful name for the combined 35 acres of property at the intersection of Indian River Boulevard and 17th Street, which has the potential – once the old electric plant and wastewater utility are gone – to become an incredible new focal point for the city’s future.

Our secondary objective was to head off the Press Journal’s insistence on referring to the property as “Three Corners” – a name that is arguably even more stupid than the idiotic sobriquet “Twin Pairs.”

During January and February, some 90 local residents responded with emails to contest@VeroNews.com, suggesting several hundred possible names.

Several recurring threads ran through the nominations we received.

One was that despite the fact that the state officially renamed the 17th Street Bridge – which runs east from this site – the Alma Lee Loy Bridge after Vero’s first lady, most everyone still calls it the 17th Street Bridge.

The leading suggestion we received was that Vero honor Alma Lee Loy by naming this special area at the foot of the bridge Alma Lee Loy Place.

A second thread focused on Vero’s centennial. A number of readers suggested that this area be named Centennial Place.

Another recurring thread focused on the number of manatees attracted to this spot in the winter. Twelve different variations of names including “manatee” were submitted, with the most frequent nominees being Manatee Station and Manatee Square.

So a month ago, we submitted these three names to the City Council and asked it to make an official choice.

The Council, however, decided that voting on a name was premature.

Mayor Val Zudans subsequently expressed his hope that a “thorough community engagement and visioning process” for the site would begin before the snowbirds leave, and said, “I think the naming contest is great and incorporating it into the visioning process will make it even better.”

Fair enough. But the Council this past week voted down a proposal to hire a consultant to help plot the future of the site. With snowbirds soon heading north, it seems increasingly likely any visioning process is going to move very, very slowly.

Meanwhile, in stories again this past week, the Press Journal proclaimed the parcel “the site known as The Three Corners.”

Well, the site is NOT known as Three Corners, and we are determined that it not become known as Three Corners.

But we also recognize that something – no matter how bad – generally beats nothing.

So in the absence of Council action, we are going to pick a name and begin referring to the location by that name as the City Council sets about determining uses for this area that will make all of Vero Beach proud.

Much as we like the idea of further honoring Alma Lee Loy, our pick of a name for this location is “Centennial Place.”

This name, in our view, speaks to the common desire – in this, Vero’s centennial year – to preserve the best of Vero’s first century while striving to make Vero Beach an even better place to live.

The name “Centennial Place” was first submitted to our contest email box by Ann Linn, who discovered Vero in 1972 and has been a fulltime resident of The Moorings since 2009.

“It’s a dream come true to actually live here,” she said when we informed her that she was the winner of our $1,000 prize.

Centennial Place. Kind of has a nice ring to it. We hope the community will agree with Ann Linn and join us – and Mayor Zudans – in referring to the site by that name.

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