Walter Anderson Memorial Park is located in the Mandarin area of southeast Jacksonville, near the intersection of Flynn and Orange Picker Roads.
In 2019, the park was renamed after Walter W. Anderson, a lifelong Mandarin resident, a World War II veteran, a retired Civil Servant with 37 years of service, and a prominent figure in the African-American community. From the early 1800s, the African-American community in the Mandarin area had a very large footprint and like most places in America during the time of segregation, they had limited access to include recreational facilities. In 1955, Mr. Anderson donated four acres of land deeded “for park purposes only" to the County so that African Americans would have a place for recreation. In 1956, Mr. Anderson facilitated the County’s purchase of an additional two acres for expansion of the park to its current state. The park served as one of the main gathering places for the African-American community. Additionally, the park served as the home field to the Mandarin Raiders baseball team, an African-American sandlot team who hosted teams from all over Jacksonville and neighboring counties well into the mid-1980s. The park continues to serve as a gathering place for community events, picnics, sports events for children, youth, and adults today and well into the future.
For many years, this park was unnamed and simply referred to as “The Colored Park”. Over the years, the park was named Joe James Park and then Flynn Park until the name change in 2019.
Through the years, local minority residents, the Mandarin Sports Association, and the Mandarin Community Club have championed the need for improvements and additions to this park. These improvements have included a basketball court, new restrooms, and lighting for the ball field in the late 1970s, new playground equipment in 1990, and park fencing more recently. The baseball field is still used for baseball, soccer, and any given day, the basketball courts are full of activity by all community members. Mr. Anderson’s selfless contributions continues to give back to the community and will serve as a memorial and reminder of the sizeable and vital African-American community in the Mandarin area.