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Municipal News & Announcements

Posted on: February 24, 2023

Remembering the late Walter McNeil, Jr.

Sanford Black History

In celebration of Black History Month, the late Walter McNeil, Jr. has been highlighted on the City of Sanford’s website.

In 1981, McNeil became the first Black person elected to Sanford City Council. He served Ward 4 until his passing in 2014, including three terms as mayor pro tem, making him the longest serving Council member in Sanford's history.

A tireless champion of Sanford and its residents, McNeil started Sanford’s National Night Out crime prevention program in 1993. He was a guiding force in bringing parks to local neighborhoods. The Walter H. McNeil, Jr. Park in Ward 4 was named after him by the community as a show of gratitude for his support and dedication.

McNeil was inducted posthumously into the Order of the Long Leaf Pine Society. Rep. Robert Reives presented the award to McNeil's wife Billie and son Michael on August 5, 2014.

The City of Sanford hopes its highlight on McNeil will become a place to record and share his tremendous legacy and its impact on Sanford and Lee County.

To add photos, articles, or memories of Walter McNeil, Jr., contact Public Information Officer Kelly Miller at 919-718-4658 x0 or via email.

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