During the November 16, 2021 Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) meeting, commissioners voted 4-1 to name the future vocational training and government center the Dr. Dennis Wilfong Center for Success. The center will be located at an 18-acre site adjacent to the Brooksville Tampa Bay Regional Airport off of Spring Hill Drive.
Dr. Wilfong passed away due to COVID-19 complications on August 26, 2021 at age 74. He was a local businessman, innovator and philanthropist who impacted the community through his volunteerism and support of Hernando County’s economic growth.
The ad-hoc committee formed after the September 14th BOCC meeting decided on naming the complex, “The Dr. Dennis Wilfong Citizen’s Center for Success,” highlighting the property’s purpose as a training center and government complex.
However, it was Chairman John Allocco who first voiced concern about this name. “This is the center for success. I don’t necessarily think it has to have ‘citizens’ in the name… The last thing I would want ever is for there to be some woke group of people who want to come in and ruin something like this. Allocco later elaborated on the controversy he was trying to avoid.
“Let’s just call it the (Dr. Dennis Wilfong) Center for Success,” Allocco concluded, making his statement a motion.
Commissioner Beth Narverud disagreed and said, “I really like the word ‘citizens’ in there, because I think it gives an ownership to the community, and I think that’s what Dennis would have wanted because he did this for the community, he didn’t do it for himself. I think it’s important to keep that in there.”
Before the motion that was seconded by Commissioner Wayne Dukes went for a vote, Allocco further explained, “I just want it to be as inclusive as possible. It’s Hernando County, but if you’re not a Hernando County citizen, you’re still going to show up (to the center). If you happen to be visiting from another country, and you’re legally in America, and you want to come here to get your training so you can be a productive part of society… I’m proud to be an American, but I just want this to be something that doesn’t exclude anybody.