Known by many as Santa Claus for decades, Brazil resident Bill Beeler will have a familiar lane in Forest Park named in his honor.
The Brazil City Council unanimously voted to approve the first reading of Ordinance 13-2005, to name a Forest Park roadway in his honor, during its meeting Tuesday evening. An additional reading will be required before the ordinance is officially passed.
Mayor Tom Arthur told the Council he approached the Brazil Park Board at its May meeting about designating a park roadway Bill Beeler Lane. The Council discussed calling it Santa Claus Lane, but wanted nonresidents to understand in whose honor the lane is named. The lane is in the southeast corner of the park by the golf course, the continuation of roadway straight to the walking trail.
"I'm glad the city is recognizing Bill," said Christmas in the Park member Pete Paullus, who recalled Beeler's many years of service in the community. "We've all probably sat on his knee at one time, him being Santa. I think it's good to recognize someone while they're still living."
Christmas in the Park President Linda Ray was also in attendance, along with member Eric Bass. He shared his memories of his grandfather working with Beeler, who would fix broken toys to give away to less fortunate children at Christmas time. He also noted this holiday season will mark Beeler's 59th year as Santa Claus.
Meanwhile, Park Board President Ruthann Jeffries explained to the Council that the reason the Board chose that spot to be named after Beeler was because it is right by where Beeler is always set up as Santa Claus.
"How would you find him if you moved him?" Brazil resident Barbara Martin said. "He's been there as long as I can remember."
Councilman Jim Sheese suggested incorporating "Santa Claus" with "Bill Beeler" on the street sign so both local residents and visitors to Brazil can be aware of the significance of the honor. After some discussion of possibilities, the Council decided to hyphenate the two names on the sign, and crowd members voiced their approval.