The Jaxson

Community => Parks, Recreation, and the Environment => Topic started by: Bill Hoff on May 24, 2017, 08:50:20 PM

Title: Jacksonville Parks: 90th out of 100
Post by: Bill Hoff on May 24, 2017, 08:50:20 PM
Trust for Public Land does not think highly of our parks system:

http://jacksonville.com/news/metro/2017-05-24/report-ranks-jacksonville-s-parks-90th-nation-out-100-biggest-cities
Title: Re: Jacksonville Parks: 90th out of 100
Post by: jaxjaguar on May 25, 2017, 12:59:55 AM
For a major metro I'm surprised it's not lower. The parks in Jax are all pitiful compared to other cities. No landscaping, decor, maintenance or grounds work aside from the bare minimum. Klutho is literally falling apart with a trash filled creek running through it. Riverside Park has an absolutely disgusting pond as its center piece (how is it not closed as a major health hazard?). Hemming Plaza has just recently started to make a turn around, but considering it's the park at the heart of the city AND the face of City Hall it's an absolute disgrace. The park on the other side of the library had all of it's artwork removed and is just a cesspool for vagrants. Aside from mowing the grass Treaty Park is completely neglected (signs are faded so much they aren't legible, trash everywhere, etc). I could go on for hours.

Someone recently asked me what public park they could go to for some nice pictures. The only halfway decent spots I could think of were the Arboretum, Memorial Park and Friendship Fountain (which is also quickly falling into the cycle of disrepair of other parks with it's broken pumps, poorly maintained grounds, etc).

This is one of the basic things that the city needs to get a handle on. You're not going to attract people to your city with seas of concrete and poorly maintained grass. You need a group who plants seasonal flowers in high traffic areas, maintains shrubs and trees, proper lighting, artwork and sculptures, etc.
Title: Re: Jacksonville Parks: 90th out of 100
Post by: acme54321 on May 25, 2017, 04:26:43 AM
Our parks department is a joke.  I love how they tout that we have the biggest park system in the country.  I'd rather have half the park space twice as nice.  No one cares about thousands of acres of old tree farms on the edge of town.
Title: Re: Jacksonville Parks: 90th out of 100
Post by: vicupstate on May 25, 2017, 08:12:12 AM
Since there are two ties in the lower numbers, it is actually even worse than it sounds. Only seven cities rank lower than JAX, not 10.

The city's that rank lower than JAX:

Laredo TX
Winston-Salem NC
Mesa, AZ
Louisville, KY
Charlotte, NC
Ft. Wayne, IN
Indianapolis, IN

The seven cities listed above universally get low scores for a LACK of park acreage and spending is low in tandem to that small acreage. JAX has a  high acreage but very low spending.
Title: Re: Jacksonville Parks: 90th out of 100
Post by: Bill Hoff on May 25, 2017, 08:53:16 AM
JAX has a  high acreage but very low spending.

Yea, but I get to keep that extra  $10.27 per year in my pocket that would otherwise go towards making our parks higher quality & desirable. Low taxes baby!
Title: Re: Jacksonville Parks: 90th out of 100
Post by: Tacachale on May 25, 2017, 10:08:34 AM
I hate to undercut the parade of negativity, but this is another measure that's affected by consolidation. Consolidation means that not only does our parks department have a lot more space to cover, but the city limits also include a lot of suburban area that wouldn't have good park access in any city. On the other hand, it's allowed us to save a lot more land in crucial areas like the Timucuan Preserve from getting turned into sprawl. Having "half the acreage" would not be a good thing.
Title: Re: Jacksonville Parks: 90th out of 100
Post by: vicupstate on May 25, 2017, 10:41:09 AM
Acreage is NOT the issue. That is a metric that JAX scores HIGH on.  The SPENDING per RESIDENT is low and is even more so when considering the acreage ISN'T low.

The recreation budget and the population are not affected by the land area of the city.


 
Title: Re: Jacksonville Parks: 90th out of 100
Post by: Tacachale on May 25, 2017, 11:04:54 AM
Acreage is NOT the issue. That is a metric that JAX scores HIGH on.  The SPENDING per RESIDENT is low and is even more so when considering the acreage ISN'T low.

The recreation budget and the population are not affected by the land area of the city.


Invoking the Murder me rachel style of SHOUTED CAPITALS?

YES they ARE when the POPULATION is mostly SUBURBAN and SPREAD OUT in contrast to OTHER municipalities that DON'T include as MUCH SUBURBAN LAND.
 
Jacksonville could have an objectively terrific park system in the urban core and would still score low because access and per capita spending still would be diluted by the suburban parts of Duval. That's not an argument not to do it, or not to reverse the cuts made in the last several years.

Title: Re: Jacksonville Parks: 90th out of 100
Post by: vicupstate on May 25, 2017, 12:04:53 PM
Capital = important emphasis not shouting

Spending = Budget/Population

Land area does not factor into the equation. Regardless, the residents are not as spread out as the land is. Huge swaths of land on three sides (the 4th being the ocean) are vacant land with almost no population.

Typically parks are in residential areas, and suburban areas are primarily residential in use. If parks were added as these areas developed, there should be no disparity. More people = more taxes. 

An argument could be made that the COST is higher based on sprawl,  but the per person spending is based on what the city decides it is willing to spend.         
Title: Re: Jacksonville Parks: 90th out of 100
Post by: spuwho on May 25, 2017, 12:18:09 PM
Parks, Libraries, Arts always suffer when consolidated taxing districts run into funding shortfalls. Jacksonville is no exception.

The priorities are always city services, streets, and the mayors/council priorities.

Those exurban tree farms are tommorrows future parkland. While it may be subjectively functionless today, it will be in place for future generations to enjoy.

As long as Duval pursues low taxes, consolidated management, the 3 items above will always suffer unless a corporate benefactor comes a long or a higher income base with density comes.

Anyone who played the old SimCity will understand.
Title: Re: Jacksonville Parks: 90th out of 100
Post by: Jim on May 25, 2017, 12:26:02 PM
These are the variables that hit us most.

Spending: 2 of 20 points.
Basketball hoops: 5 out of 20 points.
Dog parks: 4 out of 20 points.
Access: 3 out of 40 points.
Title: Re: Jacksonville Parks: 90th out of 100
Post by: Fallen Buckeye on May 25, 2017, 12:39:36 PM
There is a lot of potential for Jax parks. A few thoughts and wonderings on the issue:

How is the public being engaged to care for its assets? We should be getting local organizations and families involved. For instance, what if some usage fees were waived in exchange for service projects such as park clean ups or amenity installations? Get the public to have a personal investment, and it will become a priority.

A factor I saw overlooked was security. I remember going to a walk at Fowler one time. I had some creep just following me and staring me down the entire way. Do I really want to bring my kids to a place where I have to worry about their safety so much?

Can you really walk anywhere easily in Jax outside of Riverside and a few other areas? The metric has a bias toward denser cities. Rather than worry about the specific rank, we need to identify problems, and more importantly, solutions that make our city what we want it to be.
Title: Re: Jacksonville Parks: 90th out of 100
Post by: jaxnyc79 on May 25, 2017, 02:45:32 PM
In addition to lacking the nice finishes of a great park system (like lush and diversified landscaped features and well-maintained and shaded green space), Jax parks don't seem to be very embedded in the places where people live, work, shop, and play.  If they are in certain cases, they certain don't appear to be places to celebrate...civic monuments. 

Is there some way the city can fix this problem by incorporating public park and public plaza spaces into approvals of large-scale commercial developments or mixed-use developments?  For example, what if you took Town and Country plaza, created a beautiful park and/or brick-paved plaza space on much of the parking lot fronting the street with fountain and garden features, and then lined the park or plaza space with commercial business strips?   

In Jax, if you want to spend time on lushly landscaped green spaces, go join a golf course.
Title: Re: Jacksonville Parks: 90th out of 100
Post by: RattlerGator on May 25, 2017, 03:42:42 PM
These are the variables that hit us most.

Spending: 2 of 20 points.
Basketball hoops: 5 out of 20 points.
Dog parks: 4 out of 20 points.
Access: 3 out of 40 points.

I hate these agenda-driven, bogus surveys that purport to be objective. Every one of those criteria they utilized has an arbitrary, built-in bias against consolidated governments.


The single heaviest weight is completely arbitrary for the City of Jacksonville. Percent within a walkable half-mile? WTF? Each of the three focal areas constitute about 33% of the total -- 20 + 20 under acreage, 20 + 20 under investment, 40 under access, right? --

Anyway, of course Jax will be 90th in such a ranking process. It would be hard to design a score to make consolidated governments with big land areas look worse.

For example, given that Nashville (ranked 40th) has a city budget of approximately $2 billion and Jax has a budget of approximately $1.2 billion -- I wonder which city is using the money appropriated for Parks and Recreation most efficiently and for the greatest good?

And given that Duval County has at least a 30% bigger land area than Davidson County, how heavily does that built-in bias against consolidated cities work against Nashville *and* Jacksonville?

It's a clearly biased and bogus ranking. It seems to be a ranking on spending more than anything else.
Title: Re: Jacksonville Parks: 90th out of 100
Post by: jaxnyc79 on May 25, 2017, 04:57:12 PM
Jax Parks aren't great by the standards of most cities.  However, Jax may be operating under a totally different set of rules.  A significant number of residents live in master-planned residential complexes, often with their own neighborhood club houses and pools.  In other cases, Jax residents have easy access to open green spaces right in their front and backyards.  Other large cities around the world lack this and place more of a premium on their parks as green and open getaways from very dense residential living.

Our parks may have different objectives - i.e. containing sprawl and encouraging density (hence they're on the outskirts of town), affording residents waterside access (so naturally the park acreage would concentrate along waterfronts, giving eco-tourism access (in which case a concentration in acreage would occur near wetlands and bird sanctuaries, perhaps)
Title: Re: Jacksonville Parks: 90th out of 100
Post by: Papa33 on May 25, 2017, 05:02:34 PM
I sense a Mark Woods article/column about this in the real near future.  He's probably writing it now.
Title: Re: Jacksonville Parks: 90th out of 100
Post by: lastdaysoffla on May 26, 2017, 07:22:25 AM
I always cringe whenever I hear that Jax has "biggest park system" that may be true but the lack of quality and integration almost negates any benefit from acreage. The infrastructure just isn't there. Maintenance just isn't there. How can Klutho Park look the way it does? How can River Road be fenced off? Kudos to the city for working on the drainage at Memorial Park but how many countless parks are in need of major projects?

I wish the city gave more priority to parks. It really shows the pride a city has in itself when it has nice green spaces. Some of our parks look like downright jokes.

Take Greenridge "Park" for example.

(https://s17.postimg.org/40pfla0mn/grp.jpg)

It is is a three foot wide mowed strip of grass. That's embarrassing.



Title: Re: Jacksonville Parks: 90th out of 100
Post by: vicupstate on May 26, 2017, 08:04:39 AM
Cause: Effect

http://health.usnews.com/wellness/health-buzz/articles/2017-05-16/which-us-city-is-the-fittest (http://health.usnews.com/wellness/health-buzz/articles/2017-05-16/which-us-city-is-the-fittest)

I wonder how much people in Minneapolis-St.Paul save in medical bills because they maintain a healthier lifestyle?  I bet it surpasses the difference they pay in taxes for Recreation.
Title: Re: Jacksonville Parks: 90th out of 100
Post by: sanmarcomatt on May 26, 2017, 08:25:41 AM
I always cringe whenever I hear that Jax has "biggest park system" that may be true but the lack of quality and integration almost negates any benefit from acreage. The infrastructure just isn't there. Maintenance just isn't there. How can Klutho Park look the way it does? How can River Road be fenced off? Kudos to the city for working on the drainage at Memorial Park but how many countless parks are in need of major projects?

I wish the city gave more priority to parks. It really shows the pride a city has in itself when it has nice green spaces. Some of our parks look like downright jokes.

Take Greenridge "Park" for example.

(https://s17.postimg.org/40pfla0mn/grp.jpg)

It is is a three foot wide mowed strip of grass. That's embarrassing.



 Ha ha ha ha. I guess I have never paid attention to that sign. I always thought Greenridge park was off Greenridge road west of San Jose (a park similar to River Oaks Park). That is hilarious.
Title: Re: Jacksonville Parks: 90th out of 100
Post by: Snaketoz on May 26, 2017, 09:19:45 AM
I think the park system in Jacksonville is the result of the citizens and the people they elect to office.  Every election cycle we hear how every candidate is going to "lower our taxes", and stop "unnecessary" spending.  It's all about priorities.  In Jacksonville our priorities are just eeking by, much like many of our residents.  If anyone ran for office and said we need to spend money on our parks, they wouldn't have a prayer of being elected.  I don't know if it's doable, but we need to change our way of thinking.  This city has a problem that will take generations to overcome.  We don't want to be a progressive city.  We don't want to spend the money to maintain what we have.  "We're already paying too much in taxes".  It's really a sad situation.
Title: Re: Jacksonville Parks: 90th out of 100
Post by: lastdaysoffla on May 26, 2017, 11:38:25 AM

 Ha ha ha ha. I guess I have never paid attention to that sign. I always thought Greenridge park was off Greenridge road west of San Jose (a park similar to River Oaks Park). That is hilarious.

No, there isn't a park on Greenridge. There is a park on San Jose Blvd at the other end of Greenridge Road called Greenridge Road Park. It's small about two acres. But why even have signage on Hendricks? Especially with the incorrect name.

The COJ website has this description:

Quote
Greenridge Road Park is located in the Colonial Manor neighborhood of Jacksonville, on the east and west sides of San Jose Boulevard near its intersection with Greenridge Road. The park sits in the heart of the old Red Bank Plantation that was owned by the Albert Philips family. The plantation house built in the 1850’s still exists, and is the City’s second oldest building still being used as a residence. Development of Colonial Manor began in 1937, and the City acquired the parkland in 1937-1939. With no commercial intrusion, the subdivision and park have retained their attractiveness over the years. The park, adjacent to a creek that empties into the St. Johns River, stretches between lovely homes while providing the natural amenities of scenic trees and landscape.

Yet there is no parkland on the east side of San Jose near Greenridge Road Park.


One could argue I suppose that the sign on Hendricks is just directional to indicate there is a park at the other end of Greeridge road. But then why not a brown sign with an arrow. The sign on Hendricks makes it look like the side walk is the park.

Which isn't crazy when you consider the other tiny park just a block away.

(https://s7.postimg.org/73bti3lej/hjg.jpg)


Mickey King Park clocks in at a luxurious .5 acre. Complete with a lengthy paved running path.




From COJ:

Quote
Mickey King Park is located in the Colonial Manor section, at the west intersection of Greenridge Rd. and Hendricks Ave. The 1935 plat of Colonial Manor dedicated the park to public use. The park lies in the old Red Bank Plantation, owned by the Philips family in the latter half of the nineteenth century. In 2003 the City renamed the park to honor Mickey King (1934-2002). Mr. King was elected to the City Council in 1971, and also devoted himself to working with the area’s youth, especially in athletic programs. Among his many fields of service were as assistant director of the Boys Home, president of the Jax Youth Football Assoc., and as a member of the Special Olympics Advisory Board. The park provides an attractive green space for the visual pleasure of passing motorists and pedestrians.


 


Title: Re: Jacksonville Parks: 90th out of 100
Post by: I-10east on May 26, 2017, 04:45:00 PM
Damn that's pretty awful, with all of the foliage that took over.
Title: Re: Jacksonville Parks: 90th out of 100
Post by: Kerry on June 04, 2018, 10:15:18 AM
Jaxnyc79 makes a good point about every subdivision having its own park that isn't counted.  The City should take this into account when allocating dollars and new park lixations.  If the private sector is already doing it then why is the City trying to compete with it?  Just focus funding on the non-sprawl areas.
Title: Re: Jacksonville Parks: 90th out of 100
Post by: Jagsdrew on June 04, 2018, 11:09:12 AM
Jaxnyc79 makes a good point about every subdivision having its own park that isn't counted.  The City should take this into account when allocating dollars and new park lixations.  If the private sector is already doing it then why is the City trying to compete with it?  Just focus funding on the non-sprawl areas.

Agreed. I feel our parks are a system of 'do less with more' and not 'do more with less'.  We have a "vast" park system but can't maintain it. Heck in another thread the most known park in Jacksonville that's on every postcard can't be properly maintained, Friendship Fountain.

New developments in the burbs now include waterparks, greenspace, dog parks etc. A basic public park wouldn't foster the same amount of activity as a park in dense/urban area or in a subdivison. 

Title: Re: Jacksonville Parks: 90th out of 100
Post by: Tacachale on June 04, 2018, 12:43:22 PM
^We *can* maintain the system, and have done so in the recent past. The last few administrations just didn't prioritize it.
Title: Re: Jacksonville Parks: 90th out of 100
Post by: jaxlongtimer on June 04, 2018, 11:20:06 PM
Agreed, we way under fund park maintenance but we also have parks not located where people congregate in large numbers.  When I visit other metros, I see large parks along or at intersections of major thoroughfares or in the midst of densely developed areas.  Most of our parks seem to be in more remote locations, off residential roads or in out-of-the-way places.  Nothing wrong with this.  We do need parks in natural areas and embedded in neighborhoods.  But, we also need ones where people gather/pass by in larger numbers to boost access, visibility, usage and to more frequently remind people of the value of parks (which might motivate our elected officials to pay more attention to them).

After eliminating a handful of "large" parks (see analysis below), mostly devoted to passive preservation, how many "regional" parks are there?  I mean parks of 100 plus acres.  [I did find at least 4 x 100+ acre regional parks on the City's web site: Ringhaver, Hanna, Palmetto Leaves and Losco though based on parking spaces of 20 total between the latter two, it appears they don't figure on some of these parks catering to many people.]  And, as per above, are such parks equally spaced about the City and highly visible/accessible?  I have been to "regional" parks with greenhouses, gardens, educational nature centers, walking/jogging paths, varied playgrounds/swimming pools and playing fields, green spaces, dog walks, lakes or ponds, picnic tables, etc. all in one park to attract people of varied interests into one area (can we say like Central Park :)).  Most of our parks seem to be "single purpose" because they are not large enough or haven't been designed/located on land that enables this wider range of activities.  How many parks have mile or longer walking/jogging paths?  How many soccer/ball parks allow for many other uses in the same park to encourage gatherings of whole families and/or neighbors?

FYI, the City lists as parks dozens of our public school playgrounds and swimming pools under joint use agreements with the School Board.  Others include right of way along drainage corridors/creeks that have little recreational value.  Some are even the triangles at an intersection of angled streets (see Historic Kings Road Park in San Marco).  Should those really count as "City" parks?  They certainly aren't available for general use many times.  It seems much of this is to pad the City's statistics.

The biggest oversight is not having large acreage of green space downtown along the waterfront.  We are about to develop our only once-in-a-lifetime City controlled "acreage" along the waterfront (JEA and the Shipyards/Metro Park) into multi-use developments.  Where will there ever be a chance again for a within-walking distance "regional" park both along the waterfront and in the urban core?  Will people be attracted to downtown living without such green spaces (Private developers of scale play up their green spaces as a top amenity for living in the developments they build so you know this is what people want where they live!).

In the end, it's like much of Jax's other issues:  No master plan, failure to sustain a long term vision/planning and a desire to do things on the cheap dare we raise taxes for such things.

Interesting to note:  If we remove those few large parcels - that are really about preservation - such as the Timucuan Preserve, which being mostly a swamp that couldn't be developed anyway, what would Jax's park statistics look like?  On the City's web site, it says we have 80,000 park acres and, of that, 40,000, fully 50%, are in Timucuan alone.  Interestingly, it says Timucuan has only 30 parking spaces plus 15 boat trailer spaces (that's about one space for every thousand acres!). [http://www.coj.net/departments/parks-and-recreation/recreation-and-community-programming/parks/timucuan-ecological-and-historic-preserve (http://www.coj.net/departments/parks-and-recreation/recreation-and-community-programming/parks/timucuan-ecological-and-historic-preserve)  A similar situation is Pumpkin Hill Creek Park, at 3,800 acres (nearly 5% of total parks) and Thomas Creek Preserve at 1,400 acres (6 parking and 10 boat trailer spaces!).  The City apparently also includes about 3,000 more acres of the Talbot Island state parks.  And, the Pablo Creek Preserve is currently a 2,000 acre conservation easement not yet fully controlled by the City.  We have now accounted for about 62% of parks in these 5 properties, almost all of it preservation of wetlands.
Title: Re: Jacksonville Parks: 90th out of 100
Post by: thelakelander on June 04, 2018, 11:33:47 PM
I believe a big oversight is our lack of recognizing that Springfield Park was/is our historic central park. Although not on the river, it does straddle a tributary for over a mile, forming the border between downtown, Springfield and what was Sugar Hill. It has a recently constructed greenway along a historic promenade that's probably a mile in length. It has baseball fields, basketball courts, tennis courts, playscapes and a dog park. It's also bordered by several historic public buildings that could be destinations and museums in their own right. It also has a private museum (Karpeles) already in operation. It has historic monuments, ponds, gazebos, restroom facilities, etc. There's also plenty of land for infill development. It is within walking distance of the Skyway's Rosa Parks Station. There's also a college campus that could be a lot more of an urban destination that it currently is. Overall, the space has a lot of things going for it. What it lacks is routine maintenance and focus to take advantage of what city leaders developed as a pristine centralized space in 1929.
Title: Re: Jacksonville Parks: 90th out of 100
Post by: jaxlongtimer on June 04, 2018, 11:44:30 PM
Lake, I don't see "Springfield Park" on the City list.  Are you referring to Confederate Park by chance?  The City shows that at a grand total of 6 acres.  Not what I had in mind  8)  It does list a "Confederate Playground" at an additional 2.9 acres that appears to be contiguous.  Still, total is small by standards.  Shipyards, Metro Park and JEA would total about 90 to 100 acres in total based on my figuring plus they would feature our star attraction, the St. Johns River.  To be clear too, these projects don't have to be mutually exclusive.  Both should be done to truly benefit the urban core and City at large.  Do we dare?!

See: http://www.coj.net/departments/parks-and-recreation/recreation-and-community-programming/parks/confederate-park (http://www.coj.net/departments/parks-and-recreation/recreation-and-community-programming/parks/confederate-park) and http://www.coj.net/departments/parks-and-recreation/recreation-and-community-programming/parks/confederate-playground (http://www.coj.net/departments/parks-and-recreation/recreation-and-community-programming/parks/confederate-playground)
Title: Re: Jacksonville Parks: 90th out of 100
Post by: Snaketoz on June 05, 2018, 06:08:49 AM
Springfield Park is off Boulevard, Confederate Park is off Main St.
Title: Re: Jacksonville Parks: 90th out of 100
Post by: thelakelander on June 05, 2018, 07:19:12 AM
jaxlongtimer, here's a really old post:

https://www.metrojacksonville.com/article/2007-oct-jacksonvilles-central-park

(http://www.metrojacksonville.com/photos/thumbs/lrg-2732-springfield-6.jpg)

(http://www.metrojacksonville.com/photos/thumbs/lrg-2592-hogans-creek-parks-aerial.jpg)

Springfield Park was the name of the park that originally spanned most of Hogans Creek. At some point, we renamed it into 7 smaller named spaces. However, even in their decayed state, they're still one big 37 acre park in the middle of the city.
Title: Re: Jacksonville Parks: 90th out of 100
Post by: vicupstate on June 05, 2018, 10:48:56 AM
^We *can* maintain the system, and have done so in the recent past. The last few administrations just didn't prioritize it.

I doubt that Park maintenance has ever been funded at a truly reasonable level, at least since consolidation. From what I have seen, it is one of the very first places that gets cut when the budget is tight, which it pretty much has been for about 15 years.

As alluded to already, most of Jax's so called parks are simply conservation areas. While these a great to have, they don't serve the same function primarily as a true active park. Urban/suburban parks in the typical sense seem to be scarce in JAX.  They ones that do exist vary in terms of amenities and especially maintenance.  Some are maintained at a C+ or B- level but many are D- or F. The income level of the surroundings seem to dictate that too. I have seen none that I would consider B+ or A level maintenance.

Parks are also patronage pawns on a level I have never seen elsewhere before.  All the councilmen want to crow about getting a playground repaired, but no one seems to push for a truly destination park or long distance trail.  The Springfield S line could be a huge asset but it seems to be an after thought to most.         
Title: Re: Jacksonville Parks: 90th out of 100
Post by: Tacachale on June 05, 2018, 10:58:35 AM
^We *can* maintain the system, and have done so in the recent past. The last few administrations just didn't prioritize it.

I doubt that Park maintenance has ever been funded at a truly reasonable level, at least since consolidation. From what I have seen, it is one of the very first places that gets cut when the budget is tight, which it pretty much has been for about 15 years.

As alluded to already, most of Jax's so called parks are simply conservation areas. While these a great to have, they don't serve the same function primarily as a true active park. Urban/suburban parks in the typical sense seem to be scarce in JAX.  They ones that do exist vary in terms of amenities and especially maintenance.  Some are maintained at a C+ or B- level but many are D- or F. The income level of the surroundings seem to dictate that too. I have seen none that I would consider B+ or A level maintenance.

Parks are also patronage pawns on a level I have never seen elsewhere before.  All the councilmen want to crow about getting a playground repaired, but no one seems to push for a truly destination park or long distance trail.  The Springfield S line could be a huge asset but it seems to be an after thought to most.         

The parks department was well funded as recently as the mid 2000s. The budget was seriously reduced under the Peyton administration and cut down to the bone under the Brown administration. It's been increased in the last 2 years, but not nearly to its previous levels, and most of the increase has had to go to pension and employee benefits increases. The fact is, we can, and have, maintained our parks (both city parks and the preserves) in the recent past.
Title: Re: Jacksonville Parks: 90th out of 100
Post by: Captain Zissou on June 05, 2018, 12:24:00 PM
Interesting to note:  If we remove those few large parcels - that are really about preservation - such as the Timucuan Preserve, which being mostly a swamp that couldn't be developed anyway, what would Jax's park statistics look like?  On the City's web site, it says we have 80,000 park acres and, of that, 40,000, fully 50%, are in Timucuan alone.  Interestingly, it says Timucuan has only 30 parking spaces plus 15 boat trailer spaces (that's about one space for every thousand acres!). [http://www.coj.net/departments/parks-and-recreation/recreation-and-community-programming/parks/timucuan-ecological-and-historic-preserve (http://www.coj.net/departments/parks-and-recreation/recreation-and-community-programming/parks/timucuan-ecological-and-historic-preserve)  A similar situation is Pumpkin Hill Creek Park, at 3,800 acres (nearly 5% of total parks) and Thomas Creek Preserve at 1,400 acres (6 parking and 10 boat trailer spaces!).  The City apparently also includes about 3,000 more acres of the Talbot Island state parks.  And, the Pablo Creek Preserve is currently a 2,000 acre conservation easement not yet fully controlled by the City.  We have now accounted for about 62% of parks in these 5 properties, almost all of it preservation of wetlands.
I would love to see the park system audited and broken out into Preservation areas, active use, passive use, <1 acre, and limited access.  We really need to be treating/funding the parks according to their access and use and putting some big bucks into our top 1-5%. 
Boone Park, Willow Branch, Memorial Park, Metro Park, Riverside Park, Friendship Park, Treaty Oak Park, Hemming Park, Confederate Park, Landon Park, Alexandria Oaks Park, Balis Park, 4 Corners Park, Mandarin Park, Tillie Fowler Regional Park, Ed Austin Regional Park etc..... This is a partial list of some of our best parks that should be maintained and activated at all times.  I think we should start with these and then hit the neighborhood small parks and then the preserves.