Making room for the new, Temple Terrace gives away engraved boardwalk planks

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Names and messages on wooden planks, dating back 30 years, now have the chance to go home with the families that had them engraved.

The city of Temple Terrace is renovating its boardwalk, setting the old planks aside to make room for the new ones. The city put the word out over the summer that they would take out the old planks, so families are slowly coming around to pick them up.

The names and messages engraved honor relatives, pets, and even wedding dates. Temple Terrace Mayor Mel Jurado picked up her engraved plank Wednesday.

"[We] got married on November 9, 1983, and this board was one of my husband’s anniversary presents," said Jurado, who paid for the engraved plank in the 1990s.

The Temple Terrace Women's Club started the boardwalk project with the city in the 1980s.

"They would sell planks to individuals to have their names engraved on them, and the Women's Club would use that money to maintain and keep up the boardwalk," said Karl Langefeld, the Temple Terrace parks director.

There are about 600 engraved planks now finding ways back to their owners.

"Being able to get those planks back to the family that have had dedicated them, it really is a nice feeling," said Langefeld.

The $200,000 replacement project began over the summer, and it's set to finish next week. The old wood planks are being replaced with new recycled, composite wood.

"I think this is just a representation of that grounding and connectedness, that there is a legacy and I belong here. And this plank tells part of my story and my connection to the city," said Jurado.

As Jurado packed up her board, plans for its new home unfolded.

"I believe they are going to put it as a path into my butterfly garden," said Jurado.

Anyone can sign up to have a new plank engraved by contacting the Temple Terrace Women's Club. The fee helps the club maintain the boardwalk where the planks lie.  

City leaders said they will keep the old planks for several more weeks until there is no space to store them.