In Spring 2019, Jacksonville City Council approved Groundwork Jacksonville’s Emerald Trail Master Plan to create a 30-mile network of bicycle and pedestrian trails that will connect Downtown to 14 historic neighborhoods, 18 schools, two colleges and nearly 30 parks. Phase one is a 1.3-mile “Model Project” to connect the existing S-Line Rail Trail in Springfield to the McCoys Creek Greenway and Park Street. The Emerald Trail network is estimated to cost $31 million, plus land acquisition, and take 10 years to complete.
The Durkeeville Historical Society and city of Jacksonville collaborated to dedicate the birth site of Jacksonville’s Johnson brothers as the “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing” Park. The park is named after the song written by John Rosamond Johnson and James Weldon Johnson in the late 1800s, which the NAACP calls the “Black National Anthem.”
As part of the development strategy for LaVilla, the current Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing park will be expanded and designed by to celebrate James Weldon Johnson and the African-American experience. The park, which commemorates Johnson’s contributions to our nation, will invite people from all walks of life to honor this important Jacksonville native. Designed by renowned lanscape architect Walter Hood, the park will be linked to 15 other historic neighborhoods and Downtown via the Emerald Trail.
St. Johns River Park, located on the Southbank waterfront between the Main Street and Acosta bridges and home to Friendship Fountain is undergoing a major transformation. Through careful curation, a more vibrant year-round public space will take shape over the next two years. Built around the theme Exploring the St. Johns River, plans for a botanical garden, a themed play park, a splash pad, concessions and fountain upgrades. The node will tell the story of the indigenous Timucuan people, Ribault’s landing in 1562 and the Ft. Caroline settlement, and botanist and horticulturist John Bartram’s travels through Jacksonville. Central to the park will be an upgraded fountain representative of the massive flow of the St. Johns and including fully functional dancing jets choreographed to music and lights.
The Downtown Investment Authority is further enhancing the experience through production of a fountain projection show and facilitating coordinated programming of the fountain, projection on the façade of the Performing Arts Center across the river, and lighting on the Acosta Bridge. The fountain shows will entertain residents and visitors nightly. Work is now underway.
Walk along the Northbank Riverwalk for an amazing view of the St. John’s River. Many city events take place here including the Light Boat Parade, New Year’s Eye Fireworks and many races.
The Northbank Riverwalk is undergoing repairs including: bulkhead repairs, wayfinding signage and the addition of a performing arts activation node.
Brooklyn Park is located at the intersection of Jackson Street and Spruce Street in the Brooklyn neighborhood. It is directly across the street from the new Lofts at Brooklyn and adjacent to McCoys Creek.
Brooklyn Park improvements will be included as part of the McCoys Creek Greenway project. Future improvements to the park, in tandem with the McCoys Creek restoration, include a kayak launch, pedestrian bridge, trails, and general park amenities.
Currently, the park includes amenities such as a basketball court, a baseball field, benches, lighting and trash barrels.