It's not often that being called "a pain in the butt" is a good thing.
But Bob Bradshaw grinned as politicians recalled his years of polite — yet relentless advocacy for Davidsonville Park.
Bradshaw has long been praised as a driving force behind the creation and design of the park, which opened in 2005 on the site of a former sand and gravel mine. To recognize that work, Anne Arundel County named the park's main road "Bob Bradshaw Way" last week.
"It's only a street sign, but every time I drive by, I will remember fondly the work Bob did," said state Sen. Ed Reilly, who worked with Bradshaw on the park when Reilly was a member of the County Council.
County Executive Laura Neuman said she has known Bradshaw only a few months but is impressed by his dedication to the park and to the Davidsonville Athletic Association. The two met at a constituent open house this year and hit it off immediately.
"It's honestly nothing short of extraordinary," she said.
Former County Executive Janet S. Owens, who was in office from 1998 until 2006, was the one who called Bradshaw "a pain in the butt" — in a good way.
"Bob was a tireless advocate for the park," Owens said.
Bradshaw, who wore a bright green Davidsonville Gators hat and jacket to Wednesday's ceremony, was humbled by the honor.
He said he has tried to serve as a bridge between county officials and residents and families who would use the park, which he proudly called one of the finest in Anne Arundel County.
Located off country roads in rural Davidsonville, the park includes several lighted sports fields, mature woods, a 1.5-mile paved trail and a launch site for kayaks and canoes on the Patuxent River.
Bradshaw said the volunteer work on behalf of the park was rewarding, and he encouraged others to volunteer.
"I hope this honor inspires all of us to get involved in the community. … Believe me, it's good for the soul," he said.
Bradshaw was joined by Recreation and Parks Director Rick Anthony, Neuman, Owens, Reilly and Bradshaw's wife, Anne, in unveiling the road sign as the sun began to set Wednesday. Bradshaw was presented a replica of the sign and posed for pictures with Neuman and Owens.
French company Lafarge, which had run the sand and gravel mine, agreed to fill in the gaping holes in the land and turn the property over to the county.
Franklin Chaney, chief of recreation services for the county, said Bradshaw, who was then president of the Davidsonville Athletic Association, was pivotal in the design and construction phases of the park.
His efforts helped influence how the park was transformed from a vacant tract into a "beautiful facility," Chaney said.