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Sunday, October 01, 2023

Tom Petty historical marker to be placed in Gainesville park



This fall, Gainesville-born musician Tom Petty will have his legacy set in stone.

A historical marker honoring the late Gainesville native and famous musician Tom Petty will be placed in Tom Petty Park, located at 400 NE 16th Ave., on Oct. 20, the singer’s birthday. The park is close to the home Petty grew up in as a child.

The two-sided sign will consist of 1,235 characters per side — the maximum allowable characters. The front of the marker will briefly describe the musician’s early life in Gainesville and the back will outline the rest of his life and musical legacy. The information displayed was written by Melanie Barr, a Gainesville resident and Duckpond Neighborhood Historic Preservation consultant.

Barr wanted the marker to bring recognition to the name behind Tom Petty Park and teach Gainesville residents about the contributions Petty made to music, which stemmed from his early career in Gainesville.

“People know the name Tom Petty Park,” Barr said, “but, years later, will people still know who Tom Petty is and why he’s so important?”

Petty grew up in a small Gainesville home, but after gaining fame and wealth he moved to Los Angeles. Despite the cross-country move, Petty never forgot his roots and frequently referenced his hometown in many of his songs, such as “Gainesville.”

“Tom Petty had a significant impact on the city of Gainesville,” said 19-year-old Gainesville resident Jason West. “He’ll always be looked at by Gainesville residents with a lot of respect because of all of his contributions to the community.”

According to Barr, the marker will cost about $2,300, which has been funded by the Gainesville Music History Foundation Inc. 

“I’m glad the marker is being placed,” said City Commissioner David Arreola. “I listen to Tom Petty almost every morning. I’m a huge fan.”


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