Photo courtesy of the TOWN OF NORTH REDINGTON BEACH
Libby, North Redington Beach’s popular loggerhead turtle statue, is shown before and after her most recent facelift.
NORTH REDINGTON BEACH – A day at the spa can be a luxurious respite. Lady Liberty, also known as “Libby,” North Redington Beach’s larger-than-life fiberglass loggerhead sea turtle, has just returned from a deluxe three-week spa vacation to refresh her appearance.
Libby is on display in front of town hall where her admirers enjoy taking photos with her. A town celebrity since 2002, Libby was hatched from the Clearwater Marine Aquarium’s Tampa Bay’s Tour of Turtles project. She was one of 98 unique siblings who came to reside around the Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Clearwater areas.
Sponsored for the Town of North Redington Beach by Florida Power Corp. for the original design and creation, Libby was then purchased by the town “during the auction in April 2002 with resident John Creighton having the bidding honor,” said Mari Campbell, NRB’s town clerk. The original artist for Libby was Lenee Nicklaus Ball.
The relentless Florida sun combined with the salty sea air, as well as fans climbing on her for photos, wore down her façade. Libby also lost some of the glass “gems” from her shell.
She was refinished to her original design in 2009, but her jewels and veneer became weathered again in subsequent years. This year the town decided it was time to give her a facelift and an overall updated look.
Beth Warmack, an artist from Clearwater, who refreshed NRB’s murals in both Beach Park and Baldanza Park, handled Libby’s makeover.
With input from the town, Warmack peeled off Libby’s outer layers, added the hibiscus behind her ear and omitted the troublesome gems.
“Libby is so girly looking; she doesn’t need the bling,” said Campbell.
Next, Libby went to Liquid Lenny’s in Clearwater where she was clear-coated to protect her from the elements. Although Liquid Lenny’s is known for automotive painting and repair, they made an exception for Libby. After all, it’s all body work.
According to Campbell, “(This treatment will) keep (Libby) shiny and nice” for a longer period of time. However, the clear-coating will need to be redone every five years or so.
Now that Libby is back home in front of NRB Town Hall and looking so spiffy, her growing number of fans will want to have their pictures taken with her. The town is getting ready to install 2-foot pavers around Libby’s base to make it easier for admirers to stand near her for photos and selfies without climbing on her and possibly messing her up.
Another addition will be a plaque identifying Libby and asking her devotees not to climb on her. Libby’s unveiling has been a great success.