MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — Marjorie Kinnan served as an educator and long-time school board member in Manatee County.

There is an elementary school named in her honor and nearby is an open grass field that is known as Kinnan Park, but that’s never been the official name and now the “park” is little more than an overgrown grass field.

Manatee County plans to turn the area into the county’s newest park with an exercise trail, dog park and more.

The park is in the district of Manatee County Commissioner Misty Servia who thought it would be fun to hold a naming contest for the area.

Now Servia says the naming contest was hijacked for political reasons.

“So the game was to have Republicans at the REC, log in during a meeting, because we had set up a place where people could log in and vote and everyone was asked at the REC meeting, over a hundred people, to please go in there and suggest we name it Governor Ron Desantis park,” said Servia at a Commission meeting on Tuesday.

Servia says she is a supporter of DeSantis, saying she has his political sign in her yard and has given financially to his campaign, but she says the neighborhood park should not have become a political issue.

“Sadly, this fun contest that I put together was hijacked for political reasons during the campaign,” said Seriva.

Commissioner Carol Whitmore, who also says she is a DeSantis supporter, did not support the park name.
“Shame on us, we are taking the business away from the county and making again look like fools statewide,” said Whitmore.

Commission Chairman Kevin Van Ostenbridge says the name, “Governor Ron DeSantis Park,” was the overwhelming choice in the park naming contest.

“He’s the most popular governor in America and he’s polling way ahead right now. He’s done some wonderful, wonderful thing in Florida,” said Van Ostenbridge.

Commissioners voted 4-3 in favor of naming the park after the governor.

Servia warns she is now concerned the park will become a target for trouble.

“Prepare for the extra security that you are going to need because this is going to invite vandalism,” Seriva said.