Winter Park Commissioners Vote to Rename Fleet Peeples Park
July 14, 2014 | WMFE, Orlando - Fleet Peeples Park is getting a new name. Winter Park commissioners voted unanimously Monday to rename the popular dog park on Lake Baldwin amid allegations its namesake was a child molester. Residents called for the name change.
[Photo: Theresa Swank with her dog, Roxy. By Amy Green]
Theresa Swank visits Fleet Peeples Park about twice a week with Roxy.
"She is a West Highland Terrier, a filthy one."
She says a name change is the right thing.
"We can't have parks where children and families come to where it's named after a pedophile. It's just, regardless of what good he did in the community. It can't be."
Fleet Peeples was a Rollins College aquatics instructor for decades. He's accused of abusing children on camping trips but never was charged. He died in 1993 at the age of 95.
Winter Park Mayor Kenneth Bradley expressed ambivalence about changing the name with no due process for Fleet Peeples.
"If this was a different kind of process, if we were sitting as a jury, we would have a whole different set of circumstances. We're not sitting as a jury tonight. We're sitting as a city commission who strives to do what's best for our city."
The park will get its old name back, Lake Baldwin Park.