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The 14 Parks of San Marco

Metro Jacksonville highlights the public spaces of Jacksonville's most walkable neighborhood.

Published September 13, 2010 in Neighborhoods      16 Comments    Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article


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The Parks of San Marco Map




1. Belmonte Park



Quote
Belmonte Park is located in the San Marco section of the City. James H. Hendricks established the central portion of the park on a recorded plat in 1922, with additional parcels added between 1927 and 1937. Residing across from the old South Jacksonville Grammar School built in 1916, it was formerly known as Hendricks Park. Eventually the names of an adjacent avenue and the park were changed to Belmonte, possibly derived from a city in Portugal. When a parking lot was considered for the site in 1982, the San Marco Preservation Society successfully championed its preservation. Scenic oak trees surround the park’s open expanse of lawn without any man-made amenities, which is being complemented in 2004 by the renovation of the school building into 38 live/work rental units for local professionals. Development of the park was completed on October 31, 2005. A serpetine sidewalk now connects Belmonte and Larue Avenues. Decorative landscaping, irrigation, benches and waste receptacles were installed. Park is now a prototype, passive, neighborhood park.
http://apps2.coj.net/parksinternet/parkdetails.asp?parkid=212




2. Southside Park



Quote
Southside Park is located in San Marco section of South Jacksonville, which existed as a separate municipality in 1925, when the park was first established and known as Central Park. Between 1930 and 1955, the park doubled in size, and the Southside Branch Library moved to its new location at the park in 1950. The grounds also contained tennis courts and other amenities that were augmented by a large swimming pool/teen center that opened in 1956. The City demolished the pool in 1991, and added six more tennis courts in 1996. Through the cooperative efforts of the San Marco Preservation Society and the City, and a large bequest from the estate of longtime San Marco resident and benefactor Abla Balis (1901-96), a new community center (connected to the expanded library) and a new outdoor park opened at the site in 2003 and 2004 respectively – which together with the adjacent tennis facility comprise today’s park.
http://apps2.coj.net/parksinternet/parkdetails.asp?parkid=181







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16 Comments

Noone

September 13, 2010, 05:37:05 AM
Great work.
Parks 12,13 and 14 that end at the river highlight the issue for the city of Jacksonville that if you can have a pocket par then you can have a pocket pier.
It should be a campaign issue for District 5. Out of the 3 parks I'd say that Riverfront Park would be the best location.

ricker

September 13, 2010, 07:44:09 AM
I have so many questions and now so many more ideas! so glad to be here!

Bativac

September 13, 2010, 10:31:21 AM
I grew up going to all of these parks. FEC is probably my favorite. We flew tons of kites, threw tons of Frisbees, and later on, hit tons of golf balls in FEC park. As a kid, I would watch trains go by, on the other side of the fence.

My wife and I visit Riverfront Park probably once a week. Not a big space, but a great place to sit and enjoy an evening breeze (when there's a breeze).

NovemberRush58

September 13, 2010, 11:09:45 AM
Thank you for posting this article on the parks, I love to go to parks and did not even know about most of these listed, I look forward to visiting them all very soon!! Great Pictures too!! : - )

stjr

September 13, 2010, 12:24:45 PM
These parks are an integral component of the desirability of San Marco.  We need more of these green spaces to make downtown equally desirable.  The Shipyards and JEA properties as connected and accessible parks are opportunities for downtown to distinguish itself from other living options in the area.  People today, more than ever, demand recreational and green spaces as part of their living environments.

grimss

September 14, 2010, 06:28:34 PM
Nice article and great pics.  But I disagree with the moniker, "Jacksonville's Most Walkable Neighborhood," even though I recognize SM earned the highest "walkability score" from some website that rates this kind of thing.  As I recall, Riverside got a walkability score that was equivalent to Southside Blvd., and yet in terms of bang for your walking buck, Riverside and Avondale can't be beat, IMHO.

thelakelander

September 14, 2010, 09:04:57 PM
They split Riverside/Avondale up into three different neighborhoods based on the city's information.

The original plat of Riverside and Fairfax are ranked right behind San Marco.  My guess is Avondale ranks low because the only area with the boundary they use with a good heavy mix of uses is St. Johns Avenue.  However, I do find it strange that they show St. Johns Avenue as the least walkable section of Avondale.

Anyway, here are a few select neighborhoods throughout the city and their walkscore.

Walk Score Description
 
90–100 Walker's Paradise — Daily errands do not require a car.
70–89 Very Walkable — Most errands can be accomplished on foot.
50–69 Somewhat Walkable — Some amenities within walking distance.
25–49 Car-Dependent — A few amenities within walking distance.
0–24 Car-Dependent — Almost all errands require a car.


88 Downtown (Downtown Northbank)
80 San Marco
71 Fairfax
71 Riverside
70 Southside (Downtown Southbank)
67 Murray Hill
64 Springfield
59 Lakewood
58 Brentwood
58 Arlington
56 Lakeshore
56 Avondale
53 Lackawanna
52 Englewood
47 Woodstock
46 Mid-Westside (Durkeeville)
45 Cedar Hills
43 Baymeadows
34 Glynlea/Grove Park
31 Deerwood
27 Argyle Forest
24 Mandarin
21 Sherwood Forest

full list: http://www.walkscore.com/FL/Jacksonville

ubben

September 15, 2010, 09:07:52 AM
Many of Avondale's east-west streets end at the St. Johns River with river access. It would be great if these small pieces of land were treated as pocket parks too--like #13, Greenscape Celebration Park. A couple of them currently are (Edgewood is the best example) but most are unmowed, neglected and offer no welcoming benches or amenities of any kind. This seems like an opportunity that our city should take advantage of. Aren't we all about our citizens enjoying our terrific asset, the River? It would be nice if RAP would encourage this.

acme54321

September 15, 2010, 09:15:34 AM
The people who live at the ends of those streets probably don't want any amenitites there so the "undesirables" don't come to hang out.

jaxzjax

September 21, 2010, 11:40:40 AM
My only complaint is that they failed to incorporate a dog park into FEC park (I know there is an article floating around from years ago that talked about the plans). It would be nice to have a place for dogs to run around without a leash.

stjr

September 21, 2010, 07:25:46 PM
FEC Park is a lousy park name for a residential area.  Sounds very industrial.  Sure is lacking in image building for the neighborhood.  How about having a contest to rename it?  I suggest naming it for the original City of South Jacksonville that purchased it and call it "South Jacksonville Park".  It's both historic and descriptive of its location, not to mention it doesn't highlight a railroad running by one's house!  ;D

Quote
FEC Park resides in the San Marco section of South Jacksonville, in an area that comprised part of a plantation established around 1800 by early pioneer William Craig. The City of South Jacksonville, which existed as a separate municipality from 1907 to 1932, purchased the park site in 1929 from a firm owned by Brown Whatley and Joseph Davin, the premiers developers of South Jacksonville during the 1930’s. The privilege of naming the new park was accorded the South Jacksonville Woman’s Club, and its members chose the name Southside Athletic Field. Eventually the name was changed to FEC Park, in honor of the Florida East Coast Railroad, which maintained an extensive railroad yard and passenger depot in South Jacksonville for many years. The rail line passes adjacent to the park, which consists of a large open field with scattered oaks, sycamores, palms, and pines.

Ocklawaha

September 21, 2010, 10:57:44 PM
FEC Park is a lousy park name for a residential area.  Sounds very industrial.  Sure is lacking in image building for the neighborhood.  How about having a contest to rename it?  I suggest naming it for the original City of South Jacksonville that purchased it and call it "South Jacksonville Park".  It's both historic and descriptive of its location, not to mention it doesn't highlight a railroad running by ones house!  ;D

Quote
...FEC Park, in honor of the Florida East Coast Railroad, which maintained an extensive railroad yard and passenger depot in South Jacksonville for many years. The rail line passes adjacent to the park...

STJR, No offense buddy, but are you out of your cotton pickin' mind? FEC as in Railroad... Not just ANY railroad mind you but THE RAILROAD most responsible for modern Florida. From Jacksonville to Key West this Jacksonville based railroad has left it's mark. Does the name Henry M. Flagler mean anything to our readers? Yeah, THAT Flagler, Flagler as in Flagler Avenue in downtown Miami, Flagler as in The Oversea's Railway, Flagler as in partner to Rockerfeller, Flagler as in the $Billionaire buried in Northeast Florida (St. Augustine), Flagler that could have followed his partner and built a Yankee Dynasty and instead brought every modern comfort to what was then a jungle. Name it something else? Not a chance of a snowball in HELL!  Sure change the name, change it to FLOLRIDA EAST COAST RAILWAY PARK and get the FEC to donate a COMPLETE 3-4 car train for display, build a roof over it, add picnic tables and grills and WHOO WHOO!

But then you KNEW this would draw me out!



OCKLAWAHA

Noone

September 22, 2010, 05:07:59 AM
As a recent participant to the St. Johns River Summit one of the topics for discussion was "Locally Resourceful Tourism for a Sustainable River Economy" A pocket Pier in location 12,13, or 14 would put Jacksonville and San Marco on the map and could be a tremendous asset for the city of Jacksonville in showing the state that we are serious about Public Access to our St. Johns River our American Heritage River.

On Oct.4 2010 Visit Florida will be launching it new website. The Pocket Pier issue is a huge campaign issue for every council district in the city. A pocket pier would allow listings and then provide connectivity throughout the cities waterways that could be part of Visit Florida and also Greenways and Trails.   

Captain Zissou

September 22, 2010, 09:46:31 AM
Quote
change it to FLOLRIDA EAST COAST RAILWAY PARK and get the FEC to donate a COMPLETE 3-4 car train for display, build a roof over it, add picnic tables and grills and WHOO WHOO!

I think that's an amazing idea.  If they're going to name the park after a railroad, why wouldn't they include some rail themed elements??  In addition to a restored train, I think a playground mimicking the train would be cool. The whole train could be a jungle gym type thing. That park is HUGE and they could really do more with it.

Things that I think would prevent this from happening.  I'm sure the neighborhood would resist any enhancements to the park.  It's a quiet street and a quiet park, I don't see them allowing anything that would encourage foot traffic or additional cars on the street.  Also, people use the park to drive golf balls, run their dogs, fly model planes, etc.... i don't see them encouraging development of that GIANT open space.  San Marco residents should be great assets to our city and champions of growth, but most of them are stubborn, backwards thinking, old birds. 

Ocklawaha

September 22, 2010, 09:59:09 AM
The train could be displayed in a longitudinal way, close to the railroad. The improvements placed along the eastern edge of the property would still allow for golf balls, dogs, and model aircraft. If restrooms were added such a building could also house an interesting display of railroad memories. I would think if they went that far we would need to purchase an adjacent house for a caretaker/property manager-ranger.


The same park... only in Sacramento...

If we wanted to go around the park borders it might also work to install a miniature railroad track that could host regional Live Steam meets, and weekend operators (we have quite a few locally).


OCKLAWAHA

stjr

September 22, 2010, 06:22:15 PM
^Ock, I am fine with a "Railroad Park", even one named after FEC, CSX, RailAmerica, or whatever.  I am merely suggesting this isn't the most suitable park for such.  How about such a park at the old rail yards off McDuff and Beaver?  Or. maybe FEC could donate some land from its Flagler Business Park holdings south of town?  Or, somewhere else between Philips Highway and its rail line?

How about Downtown at the Convention Center site when it finally becomes an intermodal terminal? Or between Park and Myrtle?  That area would give Downtown a tourist attraction, approximate the confluence of multiple railroads, and play off of the Union Terminal building and all the surrounding rail history you so often allude to in your posts.  One day, that area could be nicknamed "Railroad City".  :D

But, not in the middle of a residential area in San Marco.  And, as to my alternate suggestion, where else do we commeomorate the former community of South Jacksonville, other than a less than obvious City Hall off of Hendricks?
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