Sam Murphy Park renovations just beginning

August 21, 2020
By Marcy Shortuse

SUBMITTED BY THE GASPARILLA ISLAND CONSERVATION AND IMPROVEMENT ASSOCIATION – The Gasparilla Island Conservation and Improvement Association (GICIA) is pleased to announce that restoration of the Sam Murphy Park will begin next week. The GICIA asks for residents and visitors to be patient as the Park will be closed during this time.

The GICIA will proudly celebrate its 50th Anniversary in 2021. Originally, the Association was planning an all-inclusive community celebration but due to the uncertainty the pandemic brings it has been necessary to find an alternative. During a GICIA Board call last week it was unanimously agreed that refreshing the much-loved Sam Murphy Park would be a perfect way to celebrate the GICIA’s 50 years working to preserve the beauty of Boca Grande.

Well-known landscape architect, Mary Ellen Flanagan, is working to design a plan for the park. The goal is to maintain the original design while using new grasses, shrubs and trees to refresh the park. The existing hardscape, such as the wall, fences, pavers and light fixtures will be power washed and painted. New benches and trash receptacles will also be installed.

The Sam Murphy Park located at 355 Park Avenue sits on two lots that were originally purchased by the GICIA in 2000. Once purchased, the GICIA Land Conservancy worked to create a peaceful, green oasis in the middle of town. Sam Murphy, GICIA President at the time and Edmund Pratt, GICIA Land Conservancy Committee Member were committed to the creation of the Park, which was completed in the summer of 2000.

It was after Sam’s passing in 2001 that the Park was rededicated in his honor as the Sam Murphy Park. The idea of the GICIA Land Conservancy was originally Sam’s. Murphy went on to organize a fundraising event that raised the initial $3 million and provided the seed money for GICIA to initiate a land acquisition effort that today boasts almost 300 acres of property on and around Gasparilla Island.

The restoration is scheduled to be completed by October 1st and then the Sam Murphy Park will once again be the perfect place to escape and enjoy a quiet moment in the shade. If you have any questions, please call the GICIA Office at 964-2667.

The Gasparilla Island Conservation and Improvement Association, Inc. address is P. O. Box 446, Boca Grande, Florida 33921.