The 14 Parks of San Marco

September 13, 2010 21 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

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

The Parks of San Marco Map

1. Belmonte Park

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.

2. Southside Park

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.

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