Jan. 18, 2023
Mayor Reeves Announces Community Advisory Group for Miraflores Park Burial Ground Study
Mayor D.C. Reeves has selected 10 individuals to serve as the Miraflores Burial Ground Study Community Advisory Group, which will assist the City of Pensacola in the assessment and future commemoration of Miraflores Park.
The members of the Community Advisory Group are:
- Barbara Albrecht, Coastal Communities Coordinator for the University of West Florida, Director of the Panhandle Watershed Alliance
- Teniadé Broughton, District 5 City Council Member, President of the John Sunday Society
- Rand Hicks, Parks and Recreation Board Chairman
- Angela Kyle, Vice President of Sustainability Business Development at JLL, Mayoral Transition Team Focus Area Leader for Strategic Planning
- Michelle MacNeil, Principal at Architectural Affairs
- Allison Patton, District 6 City Council Member
- Margo Stringfield, Research Associate for the UWF Archaeology Institute
- Bianca Villegas, Planning Board member
- Lonnie Wesley, Pastor of Greater Little Rock Baptist Church, Mayoral Transition Team Focus Area Leader for Citizen Engagement
- Dr. Lusharon Wiley, Vice President of Corporate Culture at Innisfree Hotels, Mayoral Transition Team Focus Area Leader for Employee Engagement & Culture
The City of Pensacola will be working with the Community Advisory Group, partners and community stakeholders as the study moves forward and research continues at the site.
The Miraflores Burial Ground Study Community Advisory Group will operate in the Sunshine (Florida Statute 286.011), with all meetings publicly advertised, open to the public, and minutes taken.
The first meeting of the advisory group has not yet been scheduled, but please stay tuned to the City of Pensacola website at cityofpensacola.com/miraflores for updates.
About the Miraflores Park Burial Ground Study
As a result of research following the discovery of human remains at Miraflores Park in June 2021, the City of Pensacola will be conducting a burial ground study of the park’s grounds with a goal of assessing, interpreting and commemorating the site.
The human remains were discovered by a local Boy Scout troop in the crawl space underneath the Boy Scout Building at the park. Local authorities were contacted including the Pensacola Police Department, the District 1 Medical Examiner’s Office, biological anthropologists from the University of West Florida as well as the Florida State Historic Preservation Office and the State Archaeologist. The field investigation indicated that the human remains were associated with historic fill and originated from a historic, disturbed grave context. They were likely disturbed during the construction of the Boy Scout Building in 1934.
Biological anthropologists from the University of West Florida conducted a skeletal analysis that indicated there were two individuals present, one female and likely one male. It has also been determined that the jurisdiction of leading the study of the burial ground is the City of Pensacola.
The investigation determined that the remains are older than 75 years, meaning they are not from a modern, forensic case. Ancestry is difficult to determine with partial skeletal remains but features of the female individual suggest there are traits that align with the various known populations in historic Pensacola such as African, Creole, and European.
Miraflores Park was originally known as Havana Square before being renamed in 1965 as part of Pensacola’s Fiesta of Five Flags celebration. Ongoing historic research has identified multiple historic documents including newspaper articles, meeting minutes, legal records, and a map indicating that Havana Square was used as a burial ground primarily for people of African American or Creole descent.
Moving forward, historic research will continue, along with tasking the Community Advisory Group to explore options to conduct a ground penetrating radar survey. The noninvasive ground penetrating radar survey will help to determine if other potential burials are present and delineate the boundaries of the potential burial ground for future preservation and protection.
The Community Advisory Group will also be tasked with gathering feedback from the community on how they would like to see the park interpreted and commemorated, and to help generate ideas for eventual reinternment of the two individuals. This group will hold public meetings, with opportunities for public input and engagement throughout the process.
Updates about the Miraflores Park Burial Ground Study will be posted on the City of Pensacola's website at cityofpensacola.com/miraflores.