john frazier robert apgar
BEACON PHOTO/MARSHA MCLAUGHLIN SPORTS FAN — DeLand Mayor Bob Apgar, at right, congratulates World War II veteran John Frazier in March, after Frazier threw out the first pitch to open a Stetson University baseball game on Melching Field, which is part of the sports complex the City of DeLand has decided to name in Apgar's honor. Apgar is retiring as mayor in November, after serving in the job for more than two decades. Frazier holds a key to the city that the mayor gave him.

Long after Mayor Robert F. Apgar retires, his memory will live on in an area where he dedicated a majority of his adult life improving for the benefit of others.

The City Commission Sept. 19 unanimously approved naming an area encompassing Spec Martin Memorial Stadium, Conrad Park, the Chipper Jones Family Little League Complex of DeLand and Earl Brown Park, the “Apgar Sports Complex”.

All of the parks and facilities will retain their names within the complex named in Apgar’s honor.

A resident of DeLand since 1959, Apgar will retire after roughly 34 years serving on the City Commission. First elected in 1983, Apgar served on the commission until 1991 and returned from 1996 to 2001. He resigned in 2001 to run for a Mayor and was elected later that year. He has served as the city’s mayor for the past 21 years.

Apgar will retire in November and is believed to be the longest serving mayor in Volusia County’s history. His last day in office is November 15.

Naming the complex after Apgar is a great way to commemorate his efforts to improve the city’s sports and recreation facilities, said Vice Mayor Charles Paiva who made the motion at the end of Monday night’s meeting.

Under Apgar’s watch, the city has undertaken a number of projects to improve its recreational facilities, including multi-million dollar renovations at Earl Brown Park, Conrad Park and Spec Martin as well as the construction of the Sanborn Activity and Events Center that replaced the original 1969 building.

PHOTO COURTESY CITY OF DELAND
IN THE MAKING — Early sketches show what the sign for the Apgar Sports Complex at Earl Brown Park might look like in the future.

City staff has been working with engineering firm, CPH, to design entryway features for the Apgar Sports Complex.

“It means a lot to me,” said Apgar, who was left in the dark on the plans. “Most of you probably don’t know, but I ran a playground at Earl Brown Park; played on all of those fields; coached on most those fields; and spent a lot of my life in that area, so that does mean a lot to me.”

— DeLand Community Information Manager Chris Graham

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