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Central City Park renamed after Cherry Blossom Festival Founder Carolyn Crayton

Crayton says she never imagined she would have something named after her.

MACON, Ga. — Central City Park in Macon has a new name.

It now bears the name of the founder of the Georgia International Cherry Blossom Festival, Carolyn Crayton.

"To have that beautiful park named for me is more than I can imagine," Crayton said. 

Central City Park is now Carolyn Crayton Park. 

"It's so touching. I can't tell you what it means. It's beyond anything I could have ever dreamed of, anything. I never dreamed of anything be named after me," Crayton said. 

The park is the largest and oldest public park in Macon. Now, it serves as the home to the skate park, the Elaine Lucas Senior Center, the Macon Bacon at Luther Williams Field.

It's the heart of the Pinkest Party on Earth, the International Cherry Blossom Festival events. 

The park's renaming passed 7-1 on Tuesday.

Normally, naming parks after living people is prohibited. However, the commission believed it was worth making an exception for Crayton after her nearly 50 years of service to Macon-Bibb County.

"She is without a doubt Macon's greatest ambassador that's ever lived. She's brought multiple good things to this community," Commissioner Mallory Jones said.

Most notably, Crayton is the founder of Keep Macon-Bibb Beautiful Commission and the Cherry Blossom Festival, which she started almost 40 years ago. 

"I had the dream of starting the festival. It was to bring us all together. We needed to come together -- all of us -- to celebrate how much we love Macon," Crayton said. 

"She put us on the map, both nationally and internationally," Jones said. 

Her vision of the park is for it to continue being a gathering place for all of Macon.

"I love it so much. It's so beautiful," Crayton said. "I just hope the cherry trees can abound in that park and that everyone can come and enjoy it."

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