Cary, NC – After several decades of volunteer work in Cary, Kay Struffolino had her legacy cemented as the Town of Cary unveiled the nameplate for Kay Struffolino Park on Kildaire Farm Road.
The Newly Named Kay Struffolino Park
Kay Struffolino Park, formerly known as Meeting Place Park, is located on 601 Kildaire Farm Rd. near the Cary Arts Center. It is also the site of the unique clay fire sculpture, which was moved to the park in 2013.
Dozens of Cary residents, as well as former Cary elected officials including Koka Booth, Erv Portman and Gail Adcock, gathered at the park on Tuesday, February 27, 2018 to see Struffolino and the new park sign baring her name.
Struffolino is one of Cary’s most active volunteers, if not the most active, serving on a number of advisory boards, and can be seen working at most large town events. Among Struffolino’s awards are the Hometown Spirit Award and the title of Cary Cultural Arts Volunteer of the Year, the Herb Young Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Volunteer of the Year and the Rayburn “Rip” Jackson North Carolina Citizen of the Year.
In her speech before showing the new sign, Struffolino said she retired nearly 20 years ago but has kept herself active in Cary with one mantra.
“Get out of bed in the morning and say ‘Who can I annoy today?'” Struffolino said.
Struffolino encouraged everyone gathered to volunteer and get involved in Cary affairs.
“In Cary, community involvement is not only welcomed but encouraged,” she said. “Keep the pot stirred.”
Part of Cary’s History
The entire Cary Town Council attended the park renaming ceremony and three members gave comments on Struffolino and her legacy.
Cary Mayor Harold Weinbrecht reminded the gathered crowd of Struffolino’s many awards and the advisory boards she has served on. Struffolino was a part of the Historic Preservation Master Plan board, a former co-chair of the Cary Festivals committee, a member of the Cultural Arts Committee and a member of the Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Advisory Board.
“Kay is the ultimate citizen, who gives selflessly of her time and talent for the betterment of others,” Weinbrecht said.
Councilmember Don Frantz, whose district includes Kay Struffolino Park, said Struffolino’s service and volunteer work shows citizens how volunteerism is an expression of democracy.
“You only get to vote for a representative every few years. By volunteering, you vote everyday for what kind of town you want to live in,” Frantz said.
Councilmember At-Large Ed Yerha gave the final speech and said naming a piece of Cary after a person ensures their place in history, citing Koka Booth, Herbert C. Young, the Page and Walker families and others as examples. Yerha said citizens for years to come will know about Struffolino from the name of the park.
“It’s a reminder to all citizens present and future of the impact of volunteer work,” Yerha said.
Story by Michael Papich. Photos by Michael Papich and Lindsey Chester.