Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Gateway to Discovery Florida's Quarter Pick

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Gateway to Discovery Florida's Quarter Pick

Article excerpt

Byline: Joe Black, Times-Union staff writer

TALLAHASSEE -- The design "Gateway to Discovery," which depicts a Spanish galleon and a space shuttle, edged out its competitors and will be minted as Florida's commemorative quarter next year.

Gov. Jeb Bush announced yesterday that the design, done by Ralph Butler of Bayonet Point, will be circulated by the U.S. Mint starting in spring 2004 as part of the 50 State Quarters Program enacted in 1997.

"Our past and our future are bright because we have a lot of dreamers and explorers," Bush said. "This [design] shows that."

Floridians voted for their choice through an Internet poll and at libraries across the state.

The winning design features a ship under sail representing the early Spanish explorers who were the first Europeans to come to the peninsula. A space shuttle soars above the galleon.

The shuttle program is based at Kennedy Space Center in Central Florida. Bush was joined at the ceremony by two former shuttle astronauts, Norm Thagard and Winston Scott.

Scott said the design honors the astronauts who perished in the Challenger in 1986 and last month's Columbia explosion while capturing Florida's role along the frontiers of the New World and the universe.

"I think it's entirely appropriate we highlight the aspect of Florida that emphasizes discovery and exploration and the Spanish galleon and the shuttle are the perfect representation," said Scott, an engineering professor at Florida State University.

The governor said he voted for the design symbolizing the Everglades; however, he said he would not call for a revote for the quarter in response to jokes concerning his push to repeal two high-priced constitutional amendments.

"This was a good range of options for the state," Bush said.

The final breakdown of the 424,346 votes cast is:

-- "Gateway to Discovery," which shows a Spanish galleon and space shuttle -- 123,515. …

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