As I mentioned earlier, I believe that Joe Wickham is turning over in his grave knowing what Brevard County has done to his beloved Wickham Park. He never would have allowed the county to destroy the park the way they have over the years. I'm sure he would have been behind many of the projects which have taken place, just not in his park!
Here is an excerpt from a newspaper article dated May 1986 about Joe Wickham -
Wickham can be found most weekday mornings by 6 a.m. at his Wickham Construction office on Avocado Street in Melbourne. With the windows cracked and the white lace curtains billowing gently, he is at home on the phone with a caller who is either upset because he hasn't received his Social Security check or mad because a proposed zoo could take away part of Wickham Park.
The park is Wickham's pride and joy. It was another slightly under-the- table but good-for-the-people deal that probably wouldn't fly today, but there are a bunch of people who are glad it did when it did.
''There was a fellow selling lots in an old boom-time subdivision for $50. I had the commission take it off the market so the county could use it for fill dirt. Other surrounding land was added, some of which I bought out of my own pocket, and the next thing you knew we had a place for the scouts to come and camp.''
Wickham used his construction company equipment to clear the palmetto- covered site, devising a different type of blade so that bulldozers wouldn't pull down the existing trees. The lakes were cleared and sand was added to the bottom.
''It's a poor man's park. Anyone who lives here can make a couple of peanut butter sandwiches and bring the family out on Sunday afternoon and have a whale of a good time,'' said one well-wisher who stopped to say hello to Wickham during a recent visit to the site.
Wickham keeps his finger in. He admits he ''gave a little help to groups recently opposing a proposal to turn over part of the park for a zoo.