Blue Cypress Park was at one time a local 18-hole golf course for the Edenfield River Estates development. Because the park is located in an environmentally sensitive area, plans were developed to reduce the course to a 9-hole golf course and use the remaining area for a natural, resourced-based public outdoor recreation site.
The city purchased the site in June 1994, with plans to establish a public park there - ending its 29-year history as a public golf course then known as Blue Cypress Golf and Country Club. In 1995, River City Golf Group developer and former pro golfer Steve Melnyk proposed converting the park into a city-owned but privately managed golf course.
Although the state would not approve an 18-hole golf course, Crescimbeni said there is a chance that the state may consider a nine-hole course.
City parks director Bill Potter said getting the grant from the Florida Communities Trust means that there are some things that the city is obligated to do at the park.
Revegetation, hiking trails, picnic areas, soccer fields and a connection to the Arlington Lions Club are the things the state has required the park's master plan to include, according to Janis Fleet of Fleet & Associates, the consulting firm that will develop the plan.
Park planners said they want to be able to keep a balance between developing an active park and a passive park.
The park has a community center, swimming pool, tennis courts, a golf driving range, a security trailer and a number of athletic fields.
Anne Peery, director of Parks, Recreation and Entertainment for the city, and Carlton Higginbotham, a department planner, spoke to members of the Greater Arlington Civic Council at its monthly meeting Thursday in the Regency Square branch library.
"What's going on, and when will it take place with Blue Cypress?" asked Carol Schirado, council president.
Peery, who was executive director of the Florida Communities Trust when Jacksonville applied for $1.2 million to help purchase Blue Cypress from private owners, conceded the golf course was a hot topic. In its application for the state funds, the city stated it wanted a nine-hole golf course at Blue Cypress. Trust officials preferred a passive nature park.
The original facilities include a community center (former clubhouse) and swimming pool, golf course and tennis courts. In July 2001 the fishing dock, and a boardwalk along the St. John's River were completed. In 2003 the 9 hole golf course opened. In 2004, soccer fields, trails, tennis courts and a concession restroom building were added.
The park features a fitness course loop that begins and ends at a Pulse Monitor Check station. There are eight stations, including the Pulse Monitor Check station. The stations are unnumbered but are located along a paved path through the front section of the park, making numbering unnecessary. The posted coordinates take you to the Pulse Monitor Check station. The course starts near the park's playground then wanders around a small pond and then past a community center and a swimming pool. The course then crosses the main road running through the park and takes you through a lightly wooded area and past the golf clubhouse and then to the main entrance to the park. The course doubles back for a couple of hundred feet from the main entrance to another road crossing that leads you past the tennis courts and the playground and back to the Pulse Monitor Check station.
Blue Cypress Park is located just north of Jacksonville University at 4012 N. University Blvd.
Photos by Daniel Herbin