The process for construction of Grover Cleveland Park in San Leandro during the 1980s and early 90s was an arduous task for then-councilmember Tony Santos. Now the park located in the Davis Street-West area of San Leandro will now be known as Tony B. Santos Park.
The San Leandro City Council unanimously voted Monday night to rename the community park after Santos, who served 18 years as an elected official, including four as mayor. Santos passed away last February at the age of 86.
“Tony was San Leandro personified,” said Councilmember Pete Ballew, who represents District 6, the same area Santos served during two stints on the council from 1984-1992 and 2000-2006.
Santos was a driving force for building Grover Cleveland Park on O’Donnell Avenue and considered it his proudest accomplishment. During his final days, he had communicated a desire to have it named after him.
Councilmembers Benny Lee and Corina Lopez praised Santos for his long-standing fight for greater diversity in San Leandro and inclusion of minorities in city government.
Lopez called Santos a mentor who urged her to join public service. “I feel really good to sit here and be able to give back something in return,” she said.
Councilmember Victor Aguilar, Jr. later amended the motion for re-naming the park to also bestow the honorary title of “mayor emeritus” for Santos.