The Petty Archives

Gainesville: City nixes plea for 'Petty Plaza'
Gainesville Sun - September 17, 1991

Tom Petty has had his picture on the cover of "Rolling Stone," but he won't get his name on Gainesville's downtown plaza.

City commissioners Monday declared Oct. 26 "Tom Petty Day" to commemorate the return of the well-known musician to Gainesville, his hometown. But they declined to rename the downtown plaza "Petty Plaza," as was suggested by Barry Sides, another local musician.

Petty deserves to have his name on the plaza because he and his band, The Heartbreakers, have done much as goodwill ambassadors for the city of Gainesville, Sides told the commission.

"Do we understand that he's going to do goodwill and give us a half-million dollars?" Mayor-Commissioner Rodney Long asked.

No, Sides replied, Petty has no immediate plans to make a cash contribution to city government.

"Has Tom Petty seen the plaza?" Commissioner David Coffey asked.

Yes, Sides replied, but he wants his name on it anyway.

"There may be occasion to find something more appropriate to name after him," Commissioner Tom McKnew said. "I don't know what."

Commissioners voted unanimously to seek some other landmark to name after Petty.