21 Feb James P. Morgan Memorial Park and Botanical Garden on Pensacola Beach Restored to its Natural Beauty
by Katie King |Katie@ewbullock.com
James P. Morgan Memorial Park and Botanical Garden on Pensacola Beach Restored to its Natural Beauty
Pensacola, Fla. (February 21, 2022) – The Santa Rosa Island Authority (SRIA) is pleased to announce that James P. Morgan Memorial Park and Botanical Garden on Pensacola Beach Blvd. recently underwent a renovation and revitalization thanks to a group of volunteer gardeners.
Organized by the SRIA, in partnership with Escambia County, the University of Florida IFAS Extension, and Florida Master Gardener Volunteer, a planting day was held on Saturday morning, Feb. 19, to help restore the park. Approximately 30-40 volunteer gardeners turned out to help lay 75 bales of pine straw on the trail and in the landscaping beds, and plant nearly 100 native plants – including Firebush shrubs, dune sunflower, palmetto palms, green saw palmetto, pineapple guava, and others.
“Morgan Park is a hidden gem on our beach that needs to be preserved and maintained for generations to come,” said Leigh Davis, Executive Director of the SRIA. “We are so grateful to all of the volunteers who turned out to help spruce up the park and allow its natural beauty to shine again.”
A tranquil oasis filled with native flora located amid the commercial core on Pensacola Beach, Morgan Park provides a shaded green space to sit and relax amongst indigenous plants and trees with a beautiful view of the Santa Rosa Sound. The small, often overlooked park has survived numerous hurricanes and tropical storms in the decades since its founding in 1995.
The park is dedicated to the late Dr. James P. Morgan, a world-renowned beach geologist, and professor at Louisiana State University and the University of West Florida.
Pensacola Beach is owned by Escambia County, Fla., and is under the direction of the Santa Rosa Island Authority (SRIA). The SRIA was created by the Florida legislature in 1947 under Chapter 24500. The SRIA does not receive tax support from the taxpayers of the county. It is fully funded from lease fees collected from business and residences on the beach. The SRIA board is made up of six members; five are named by members of the Escambia County Board of Commissioners whose term is the same as the commissioner who appointed them. Registered voters on Pensacola Beach elect the sixth member. The elected member’s term is two years.