These are Mayor Keith Curry’s extemporaneous remarks at Tuesday’s City Council meeting on a motion to accept the Parks, Beaches and Recreation Commission’s recommendation to name the multipurpose room at the new Oasis Center the Evelyn Hart Events Center.
Tonight really is a celebration of the life and career of Evelyn Hart.
I was on the City Council for two days when Evelyn came into my office to talk to me about Oasis, and 4½ years later we’re getting ready to open the new facility. And that’s a tribute to her drive and determination and perseverance, and consensus building, to get that building to where it is today.
Her terms as mayor – you can go all over the city and find buildings and parks and facilities that are there because of the leadership of Evelyn Hart. She made this community better, and has made it better for decades.
I really applaud, and I think this is an appropriate way to recognize, a lifetime of dedication and service to the community, and we should be celebrating tonight Evelyn’s contributions and this great honor to have what will be the largest event center at Oasis named after her.
You know, one thing that this process did show is that the Oasis Center is beloved by many, many members of our community – people who have been using this facility for decades and who have a real, vested personal stake in it – particularly the Friends of Oasis and the volunteers who work there day in and day out.
The thing we asked our PB&R Commission to do was to forge a consensus about what the proper way of recognizing these accomplishments is. And I think they did a good job of listening to the community, all members of the community, and forging a solution that responds to the need for consensus.
You know, when you write for the newspaper, your art is to be provocative. But the art of governing is to build consensus, and I applaud them for the patience and perseverance that they put forward to forge this consensus on behalf of the community and on behalf of Evelyn.
On Oct. 9, when we open this facility, it will be a wonderful and marvelous community celebration, made more so because of the recognition of Evelyn Hart’s contribution to it – and it’s something that we should all embrace and be proud of.
So I am very pleased to support this recommendation, and I look forward to a tremendous and glorious opening of Oasis in a couple of weeks.