Weiss continues to donate money to Folly Farm park project

Folly Farms is an 8-acre parcel of land in Safety Harbor that was donated to the city in late 2014 by the George Weiss family.

Folly Farm is an 8-acre parcel of land in Safety Harbor that was donated to the city in late 2014 by the George Weiss family.

In the 100-year history of Safety Harbor, there have been many generous members of the community, people who have donated time, land and money in order to make the city a bright, vibrant and desirable place to work, live and play.

But when Safety Harbor celebrates its bicentennial 100 years from now, there’s no doubt George Weiss’ name will be near the top of the list when it comes to the most memorable and generous of the city’s philanthropists.

The 88-year-old Weiss, who donated a large portion of his 10-acre property, Folly Farm, to the city in late 2014 in exchange for the promise of turning the land into a passive public park, recently gave another $50,000 to help add amenities to the property in time for the planned grand opening of the park in early spring.

At the time, city officials said they were blown away by Weiss’ continued, and unexpected, acts of generosity. But it turned out he wasn’t done.

Safety Harbor Leisure Services Director Andrea Norwood and City Manager Matt Spoor pose with former Folly Farms owner George Weiss after he gave the city $50,000 for improvements to the new public park. Credit: City of Safety Harbor.

Safety Harbor Leisure Services Director Andrea Norwood and City Manager Matt Spoor pose with former Folly Farm owner George Weiss after he gave the city $50,000 for improvements to the new public park in late 2016. Credit: City of Safety Harbor.

“Mr. Weiss, initially, last month donated $50,000 for some improvements to the property, and within the last week to ten days, he’s come back with an additional $20,00 for a butterfly garden on the property,” City Manager Matt Spoor said during the City Commission meeting on Monday night.

“He obviously likes the improvements that the leisure services department is making out there, and he’s keeping them very busy!”

According to Leisure Services Director Andrea Norwood, one hundred percent of the latest example of Weiss’ generosity will go towards the development of the butterfly gardens at the park, which is located on eight acres of land on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard near the intersection of McMullen Booth Road.

In a thank you letter written to Mr. Weiss and his family, Norwood explained the money would be used for the following:

  • A butterfly garden for all ages with numerous flowering plant varieties
  • 2 walk-through arbors
  • 4 park benches
  • 1 sway bench swing
  • 3 trash containers
  • 8 limestone boulders
  • A rock pathway throughout
  • Irrigation
  • Signage (overall park map, trail directional, butterfly garden educational, butterfly garden dedication signage featuring Lucille Weiss’ poetry)

Norwood added that work on the butterfly garden is scheduled to begin on March 6, with an anticipated completion date of April 1, which is near the park’s scheduled public grand opening on April 00. The installation of the children’s play area is scheduled to begin the week of April 3, with a completion date of April 12, weather permitting.

Norwood closed the letter to the publicity-shy Weiss by saying what most Harborites feel about his seemingly limitless largesse:

Again, staff is extremely excited about the Folly Farms project and the continued energetic support of the Weiss family. It is so truly appreciated. This park will be a great educational aspect for all of Safety Harbor to enjoy.

Enjoy this photo gallery of the Folly Farm property prior to the city’s improvements to the 8-acre passive park:

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