Commissioner Aims to Rename Tiger Point Community Center to Honor Gaetz Family

Posted on October 6, 2023 by Romi White

Santa Rosa County District 3 Commissioner James Calkins has added an item to Monday’s commission committee meeting, seeking to rename the Tiger Point Community Center in honor of the Gaetz Family.

“I will be making a motion to rename the facility the Gaetz Family Community Center,” Calkins told South Santa Rosa News on Thursday. 

“When former Florida Senate President Don Gaetz recently announced he was re-entering the public service arena, it made me realize how much the Gaetz family has done and continues to do for Florida, especially the Panhandle. Watching Congressman Matt Gaetz fighting for our Conservative values in Washington and facing political and judicial persecution over it, including an extortion attempt, but emerging triumphant coupled with last week’s historic victory, ousting the Speaker of the House. We could see President Trump named Speaker of the House or maybe Congressman Jim Jordan, another Conservative fighter – thanks to Matt.”

Calkins said not enough has been done to honor the Gaetz family and their positive contributions to date for Santa Rosa County, including but not limited to the iconic $400 million General Daniel “Chappie” James Jr. Memorial Bridge.

Calkins went on to say that he discussed the issue with his wife, Mariya, and they wanted to name it for the entire family instead of just one of the two statesmen, considering how Don’s beloved wife and Matt’s mom, Vicky, has been a passionate champion for animal welfare, making a significant contribution to Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge in Holley.

The Gaetz family tradition of public service started with Don’s father, who served as mayor in North Dakota. Don went on to serve on the Okaloosa County School Board and later as Okaloosa County Superintendent of Schools. He then rose through the ranks in the Florida Legislature, serving as Senator from 2006-2016, becoming Senate President in 2012-2014.

Matt also entered public service after being elected to the Florida House in 2010. It was a historic moment – the first time a father-son duo served together in the Florida Legislature.

Matt since 2017 has been serving as Florida’s First Congressional District.

“The improvements to our infrastructure, including the Pensacola Bridge replacement and the four-laning of Highway 87 S, are worthy of this small tribute to the Gaetzs and their incredible contributions to date,” Calkins said.

The Committee meeting will convene at 9:30 a.m., Monday, October 9 at Tiger Point Community Center, located at 1370 Tiger Point Lane in Gulf Breeze. The meeting will also be available to view via live stream or playback via