Festus city officials have renamed West City Park.
It is now called the Larry G. Crites Memorial Park in honor of the longtime Festus parks superintendent, who died April 30 at age 62 from a cardiac episode.
The Festus City Council voted 7-0 Monday night to approve the Festus Parks and Recreation Department board’s recommendation to memorialize Crites by renaming the park on the west side of town.
Mayor Sam Richards said he fully supported naming the park after Crites.
“I’m thrilled to death we were able to do this. Larry worked for the city for 38 years, the last (23) as parks superintendent. He treated all of the parks like they were his own yard,” Richards said.
“He worked tirelessly to make sure the parks were maintained. When there were events, he worked tirelessly to make sure they went off well. This city was very fortunate to have an employee like Larry.”
Richards said the name change took effect immediately and a banner with the new name was displayed at the meeting. Crites’ widow, Marjorie, and their children, Laura Dutton, Cassie Hess and Jason Crites, attended the meeting.
Dutton said she appreciates the recognition for her father.
“It really was an honor that all his hard work and dedication were recognized and that his memory will live on like this,” she said.
Richards said he expects the city to install a sign with the new name at the park this week.
“There will be some kind of ceremony in the future,” he said. “We’re thinking about coming up with something we can put at the gazebo (near the entrance to the park) telling Larry’s history.”
Crites started working part-time for the Festus parks department in 1981 and became a full-time employee in 1983. He was named the city’s parks foreman in 1989 and was promoted to parks superintendent in 1997.
Ward 2 Councilman Brian Wehner was absent from the meeting, which was conducted with some city officials present at City Hall and some participating via the internet.