Mayor Bob Taylor’s 16-year city council run — nearly 14 years as mayor — will end in December.
But city leaders are ensuring his legacy will carry on.
The city council in a unanimous vote, will rename the City Park gazebo, which Taylor and a host of volunteers resurrected in 2019, the Mayor Robert “Bob” Taylor City Park Gazebo.
“Of everything he accomplished in the city, he literally built that with his hands and his persistence,” said Mayor-elect Joel Bryant. “It is absolutely one of the things that makes coming downtown a momentous occasion.”
Taylor, who abstained from the vote, spearheaded the iconic structure’s restoration over about a year, between 2018 and 2019, with a legion of volunteers helping and an estimated $350,000 of donated materials, which includes the decorative copper roof.
The 20-by-20-foot, 12-foot-tall fixture (excluding the steeple) — behind the City Park rose garden, near the farmer statue — replaced a similar piece that had served as the go-to location for residents’ weddings, graduations and prom photos before being torn down during the 2007 City Park renovation.
“(The rebuilt gazebo) really harkens back to a much more calm, rural feeling when you come downtown,” Bryant said. “It’s beautiful. It wouldn’t be there without him.”
Fellow City Councilmember Claudette Staton agreed.
Staton had floated an idea to rename the entire park in Taylor’s honor, but he humbly rejected that before recusing himself from further council action on the topic.
“(Taylor) is the longest-serving mayor in the history of Brentwood,” Staton said. “I made this (suggestion) as a sign of respect for someone who has dedicated a big portion of his life. It was in respect, honor and recognition of him.”
Taylor, who noted that he was overwhelmed and quite flattered by Staton’s suggestion to rename the entire park in his honor, said the rebuilt gazebo fulfilled his pledge to the community.
“I had promised the citizens that I would bring the gazebo back, and I wanted to do it before I went out of office,” Taylor said. “It’s a beautiful asset for everybody.”
Taylor first proposed the rebuild in 2013, but the idea didn’t materialize after being forwarded to the parks and rec commission.
He reignited the idea by sending it to the city council agenda in 2016, but the endeavor was held up again after the parks and rec commission opposed the proposed location — near the corner of the park, between the barbecue area and the water-play feature.
The commission feared the gazebo would reduce space for park events, the park noise would interfere with gazebo events and the structure’s Victorian facade would clash with the civic center’s modern Spanish style.
The debate was finally settled in March 2017, when then-Vice Mayor Steve Barr suggested the current site, as it’s in a prime position for viewing events, and the rose garden fits nicely into pictures as a backdrop.
The location also averted any conflict with irrigation valves and lateral lines and allowed all trees to remain in place, which were issues that initially concerned city staff members.
Taylor said crews put a lot of effort into the design, taking into consideration the need for portable chairs to be placed nearby for future ceremonies inside the gazebo.
“Hopefully everyone will enjoy it for years and years to come,” he said.