Author Topic: Riverfront Parks Now  (Read 3047 times)

jaxlongtimer

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Re: Riverfront Parks Now
« Reply #30 on: March 05, 2021, 01:58:53 PM »
Mark Woods makes a great point about park sizes.  One 30 acre park is a different experience than three 10 acre parks.  Many cities are building/assembling larger sized parks on or about their waterfronts.  Breaking up Metro Park with part of it going to the Shipyards is not the same thing as leaving it whole.  Interestingly, Woods points out the City is already treating it as a smaller park, even before any plan is approved.

https://www.jacksonville.com/story/news/columns/mark-woods/2021/03/03/met-park-jacksonville-does-size-matter/6878168002/

Emphasis added.
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If you go to the city of Jacksonville website to read about Met Park, this is how the description begins: “Metropolitan Park is an 18.25-acre waterfront park ...."

Or that’s how it begins today.

Let’s go to the Wayback Machine, a website that launched in 2001, creating a digital archive of billions of web pages. The Wayback Machine allows you to go back in time and see what a web page looked like in the past. And if you go back to the summer of 2018 and look at the city’s “About Metropolitan Park” page, this is how that description begins:

“Metropolitan Park is a 23-acre waterfront park ...."

Note the one small — but significant — change, which just happens to have preceded the tearing down of the Hart Bridge ramp and a proposal to build a Four Seasons hotel on Met Park.

Twenty-three acres turned into 18.25.

It’s like a Jacksonville sequel to “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.” This time instead of the family ending up in a backyard that suddenly feels larger, we’ve shrunk the park....

....Now the city is quite purposefully trying to define Met Park, both semantically and legally, as the original 14.3 acres — which, because of the way those acres were purchased, remain off-limits for development.

Here’s the pitch for the plan to shrink Met Park: It won’t shrink the overall park space. The land where Kids Kampus used to be will move closer to downtown, on the Shipyards property. That will become a new park. A Four Seasons and orthopedic facility will go up on the former site of the kids park. And when all is said and done, that development will be surrounded on both sides by beautiful, vibrant parks — with as much or more riverfront park space as exists today....

....But beyond that, the cities that have created vibrant riverfronts — the places we often talk about emulating — don’t just have parks on their water. They typically have at least one park that’s larger than 14.3 acres, often significantly larger.

We’re not just talking big cities with big parks, like Chicago's Grant Park (319 acres).

Louisville has changed dramatically from when I worked for the Louisville Courier-Journal in the 1990s. If you ask people there about that change, they say one key piece is their 85-acre waterfront park, part of what was recently named one of the 10 best riverwalks in America.

They aren’t shrinking that park. They’re adding 22 acres. And across the Ohio River in Indiana, there are plans for a 600-acre park that will provide both recreation and resiliency.

Cincinnati has Smale Riverfront Park (32 acres). Memphis has Tom Lee Park (30 acres, with luxury homes and condominiums overlooking the park and the river). Tampa has the Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park (25 acres). Chattanooga has Renaissance Park (23 acres, part of 150 acres along the Tennessee River, connected by a 13-mile paved greenway and a pedestrian bridge across the river)....

....St. Petersburg has its pier park (where its website says “26 beautiful acres seamlessly combine the peaceful blue waters of Tampa Bay with the vibrant greenery of downtown St. Petersburg parks”).

These cities haven’t transformed their waterfronts in spite of parks bigger than the original Met Park. They have done so partly because of these parks.

“That’s one thing we’ve seen in our research,” said Jimmy Orth, Riverkeeper executive director and part of a Riverfront Parks Now steering committee. “Size does matter.”

There are cities that have created vibrant riverfronts with more of a linear string of parks and trails. But all of these cities and their parks, no matter how many acres, have something else that matters immensely — the size of park funding.

While we like to brag about our park system, by pretty much any measure of spending — per capita, per acre, capital improvements, maintenance — we rank far behind the best park systems in America.

If that doesn’t change — if we could look into a Way Ahead Machine and see the future — it won’t matter how many acres the city says are in Met Park.

thelakelander

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Re: Riverfront Parks Now
« Reply #31 on: March 05, 2021, 03:07:08 PM »
Springfield Park....Jax's true Central Park says hello! I'd love to see it get some equal attention.
"A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” - Muhammad Ali

jaxlongtimer

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Re: Riverfront Parks Now
« Reply #32 on: March 05, 2021, 03:43:35 PM »
^Not taking away from any other park... God knows, we need as many as we can get in my opinion.  And, as previously noted, with the City under-funding the entire park system (which Woods also notes in his column(s)), all need more "attention."

That said, like it or not, the riverfront is Jacksonville's front door/centerpiece/focal point and, as such, deserves its own "grand" park like what most other cities with such opportunities offer.  Additionally, a riverfront park offers over other locations all the attractions and benefits of being along a body of significant and navigable water.

thelakelander

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Re: Riverfront Parks Now
« Reply #33 on: March 05, 2021, 03:53:57 PM »
I don't know if it's the front door, that's subjective. It's important and definitely deserves some attention and investment. However, isolating the focus sets up for sure failure. It's one of the things that should be included in a comprehensive and coordinated plan for the core. When looking at things holistically, we'll discover the best path for incremental implementation to effectively reach the grand vision.


That said, like it or not, the riverfront is Jacksonville's front door/centerpiece/focal point and, as such, deserves its own "grand" park like what most other cities with such opportunities offer.

I was just pointing out that we do have a grand park like other cities. We've just let it go to hell since the 1950s. Nevertheless, at one time, it was just as grand as NYC's Central Park and Boston's Common to Jacksonville. Two grand parks that are still grand for their communities, despite not being on the waterfront in those coastal cities.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2021, 04:00:51 PM by thelakelander »
"A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” - Muhammad Ali

jaxlongtimer

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Re: Riverfront Parks Now
« Reply #34 on: March 05, 2021, 05:28:07 PM »
Ennis, I will gladly settle for TWO (or more) "grand" parks!  We should be so blessed  8).  And, connecting them with the Emerald Trail would be a force multiplier. 

tufsu1

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Re: Riverfront Parks Now
« Reply #35 on: March 06, 2021, 09:44:53 PM »
^Not taking away from any other park... God knows, we need as many as we can get in my opinion. 

what money should be used to build and maintain these grand parks?

Florida Power And Light

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Re: Riverfront Parks Now
« Reply #36 on: March 07, 2021, 09:15:32 PM »
Well, at least we don’t have to purchase...... after all, the public owned/ owns a great deal of Water Front Property.

jaxlongtimer

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Re: Riverfront Parks Now
« Reply #37 on: March 07, 2021, 11:27:02 PM »
^Not taking away from any other park... God knows, we need as many as we can get in my opinion. 

what money should be used to build and maintain these grand parks?

Tufsu, I already answered this question earlier in this thread.  See re-post below:

^ Taking care of parks and adding more parks are not mutually exclusive.  To do either one, we just need a small incremental increase in property taxes dedicated to parks.  Maybe we should actually create a "parks district" dedicated tax so citizens are assured the money goes where they can appreciate it.

The problem with deferring many park acquisitions is the land is often gone "forever" and can't be obtained when funds finally become available.  Or, it is far more expensive due to additional development occurring around the parks.

Many parks are passively owned following acquisition until more funds are found to develop them for use by the citizenry.  We don't need to instantly develop parkland upon acquisition.

fsu813

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Re: Riverfront Parks Now
« Reply #38 on: March 10, 2021, 06:22:22 PM »
^ Taking care of parks and adding more parks are not mutually exclusive.  To do either one, we just need a small incremental increase in property taxes dedicated to parks.  Maybe we should actually create a "parks district" dedicated tax so citizens are assured the money goes where they can appreciate it.

^Unfortunately, our current condition is our reality. We don't have enough money to do a lot of quality of life things, from mass transit and parks, to septic tanks, water/sewer and keeping public libraries open. With that said, I'm in favor of a tax increase to cover many quality of life issues throughout the city.

The next Mayor, whomever it is, will be raising taxes out of necessity. Curry may be convinced to take one for the team, as it were, and do it before he leaves, so the next Mayor doesn't have to lift that weight. I suppose it would depend on his parachute strategy leaving office.

As if I had a crystal ball ....