The Lufkin Landscape Task Force could not have asked for a more beautiful day to dedicate a new amphitheater and monument projects at Louis Bronaugh Park in Lufkin on Friday.

Jo Ann Tatum, president of the task force, officially turned over the amphitheater, complete with a historical mural painted by local artist Byron Jones, to Mayor Bob Brown during a 30-minute ceremony attended by city officials, residents and other dignitaries under a clear and breezy East Texas autumn sky.

“I think it’s been really great,” Tatum told The Lufkin News. “It’s been a long time in coming, but we’ve made it and we’re ready to go to another project at Gaslight. We had to finish this first. I think having the community come together for this is fantastic — I call it teamwork.”

After an invocation by Pastor John Greene of Harmony Hill Baptist Church, Master of Ceremony Bob Flournoy invited members of the Lufkin Police Department and Lufkin Fire Department to present the colors. The Pledge of Allegiance was led by members of American Legion Auxiliary No. 113 followed by a performance of the national anthem by Dianne Finch.

Following the official dedication and closing remarks by Flournoy, Stacy Perkins performed “God Bless the USA.”

Pastor Randy Green of Christ Congregational Church delivered the benediction.

“This is the largest project we’ve done,” Task Force Vice President Genie Flournoy said of the amphitheater and other projects the task force has completed at the downtown park. “It started of after 9/11 with the eagle being dedicated a year later. That’s what started us off. Now, it’s 2013 and we’re finishing up the park. The amphitheater has been on the drawing board for a long time. I see it being used for concerts, small plays and get-togethers. It’s free to use. That’s one benefit. It’s a dream that we’ve had.”

The amphitheater is just one of several projects that the Lufkin Landscape Task Force has tackled over the years since the property was given to the city by Murphey and Betty George.

On Sept. 11, 2002, one year after the devastating terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, the Spirit of America, a 9-foot bronze eagle sculpted by Edd Hayes, was dedicated at the park.

After the 2003 loss of Space Shuttle Columbia, the task force began work on a memorial to honor the crew and local volunteers. The monument was dedicated on Feb. 1, 2004.

The park also includes the Avenue of Flags with memorial bronze plaques at the base of each flag honoring local donors. Granite memorial benches were provided by the Lufkin Rotary Club.

Most of the rocks used in the park, provided to the task force, are from the old rock wall on U.S. Highway 59 South which was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s.

A sculpture of former Mayor Louis Bronaugh, created by Bob Flournoy, also makes its home in the namesake park, along with a state historical marker listing the various county seats of Angelina County starting with Marion’s Ferry and ending with Lufkin as the final county seat in 1890.

“You could not ask for a more beautiful day and you could not ask for a more appreciate crowd of people that have put their heart into this park and made it what it is,” Brown said after the ceremony. “I’m hoping that people will come to the park, reminisce and know what kind of park we have in Lufkin. Lufkin is a can-do community, and the Lufkin Landscape people had a dream of what they wanted to do, including saving the petrified rock (from the U.S. 59 rock wall). There’s just some things that happened that history would never know unless it was preserved.”

Louis Bronaugh Park is located across from Lufkin City Hall.

Steve Knight’s email address is sknight@lufkindailynews.com.