Lunsford: Much done, more goals beckon for city

Published on October 24, 2013 with No Comments

If you’re depressed and need a quick pick-me-up, spend 10 minutes with Pat Lunsford.

The high-energy, positive-thinking Milton City Council member will soon have you revved up and ready to take on new challenges.

She says she’s always been eager to be involved in community matters. Hey, she was on the student council at Chumuckla High School, and that was 60 years ago.

“I’m a people person,” says Lunsford, recalling how she had retired from her beauty salon business in 1996 and found herself looking for things to do.

“I can be of better use than sitting home,” she thought. “I just decided I would enjoy something where I culd promote and improve the city.”

She ran for the council and won a seat.

Skateboard supporter

 One of the first issues she championed: A skateboarding park where children and teens could enjoy themselves.

“I had never seen a skate park,” Lunsford said, but some youngsters asked for her assistance in getting one.

She helped lead a campaign that brought about the city skate park.

“It’s been wonderful for the children,” Lunsford said. “It’s kept them off the streets.”

The park is just one part of a series of new and improved city facilities in the past 15 years – tennis courts, community center, police and fire stations, City Hall, Carpenter’s Park, the marina.

She’s also proud that Milton has weathered recent economic struggles without laying off any employees, especially important now because of high health insurance costs for individuals.

More to come

 Lunsford laughs that she has a secret political weapon: “I’m related to half the people in Santa Rosa County.”

She’s also quick to praise others – Mayor Guy Thompson, fellow council members, community members and Whiting Field Naval Air Station.

“We work together well,” she said.

The 75-year-old has a long list of things she wants to accomplish yet.

A BMX park and an Olympic-size swimming pool would be especially good for children. She and her husband, Earl — one of four boys in her high school class — have been married 57 years and raised two children; they’re eager to help the next generation.

“They need some place that’s kosher, where they’re going to be monitored,” she said.

Lunsford also wants to see more use of the area along Blackwater River – perhaps an RV park – as well as more sidewalks and a decision about the fate of the aging Santa Rosa County Courthouse.

“We aren’t utilizing the river like we should,” she said.

Money, of course, is a major stumbling block to making dreams into reality, but she is determined to keep pushing for more improvements.

“You’ve got to have goals,” she said.

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