Glynn County Commissioner Bob Coleman announced Wednesday his intent to withdraw a request to name the Glynn County Veterans Memorial Park after late businessman Robert M. Torras Sr.
“Mr. Torras was a dear friend of mine and a steward of the city of Brunswick and Glynn County,” Coleman said in a statement. “His long history with the land where the Veterans Memorial Park resides initially seemed like an appropriate way to honor him.”
He decided to pull the proposal after receiving emails, phone calls and text messages from residents on the matter.
“It was never my intention to dishonor any group of individuals or families with this request, and I am certain that Mr. Torras would not have wanted to be honored amidst controversy,” Coleman said.
The request will be withdrawn, but Coleman concluded that he does “fully intend to delve further into this topic to find another way to honor the memory of Mr. Torras with the support of our community.”
Torras was a U.S. Air Force veteran and an important factor in the park’s very existence, Coleman said.
“It was Bob Torras’ doing, the whole thing,” Coleman told The News in November. “Bob Coleman didn’t just pull a name out of the sky and start promoting it.”
Torras brought the idea to commissioners in 2014, after which the county included it as a project in Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax 2016, he said.
Coleman’s proposal to rename the park had the support of Commissioner Allen Booker and the grandson of Robert Torras, Michael Torras, but was opposed by a majority of his fellow commissioners and the veteran community.
Commission Chairman Mike Browning opposed the request at a mid-November meeting, saying naming the park after one person would be “an affront to every veteran.”
Commissioners received over 100 emails in opposition to the idea of renaming the park, Commissioner Bill Brunson said.
The park, located at the corner of Newcastle and I streets in downtown Brunswick, was completed and opened to the public in May. COVID-19 crashed a grand opening celebration planned for Memorial Day, and an official dedication ceremony was held on Nov. 4.