Author Topic: Jacksonville Parks: 90th out of 100  (Read 7446 times)

vicupstate

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Re: Jacksonville Parks: 90th out of 100
« Reply #30 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.         
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Tacachale

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Re: Jacksonville Parks: 90th out of 100
« Reply #31 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.
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Captain Zissou

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Re: Jacksonville Parks: 90th out of 100
« Reply #32 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  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.