Tonight, as your stroll through Munn Park for First Friday, take care not to wander into the bright orange fence at the corner of Main and Tennessee. Where once stood two potted plants, there are now two deep holes.
Those two holes are the first visible indication of a prominent addition to Munn Park, the George W. Harris, Jr. Memorial Arch. Designed to mirror the arch at Main & Kentucky, the memorial will also include a bust and plaque honoring Harris. Community leader, philanthropist, and CEO and chairman of the board of Citrus & Chemical Bank, Harris was an important figure in downtown Lakeland for many years until his death in January 2006.
Anne Furr, the director of the Lakeland Downtown Development Association, credits Harris with taking the first step toward revitalizing Lakeland’s downtown when he brought Citrus & Chemical’s headquarters to the area.
The Community Foundation of Greater Lakeland’s project goal of $150,000 hasn’t been met, but construction started thanks to donations of labor and design. Furr said companies such as Olson Construction and Furr & Wegman Architects donated labor and design costs to help insure the project movds forward. Furr said she expects the arch to be completed in late April or early May with a dedication ceremony to follow soon after.
The Community Foundation of Greater Lakeland is still collecting donations to create a fund for upkeep of Munn Park. Anyone wishing to donate may contact the foundation online or at 863-683-3131.