In the fall of 2022, an iconic new park in Jacksonville's historic LaVilla community is set to open to the public, honoring two of our city's greatest sons: James Weldon and John Rosamond Johnson.
On Thursday, Oct. 1, I joined City Councilman Reggie Gaffney, Parks, Recreation & Community Services Director Daryl Joseph, the Jessie Ball duPont Fund and other community leaders to unveil the plans for Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing Park, designed by award-winning landscape architect Walter Hood.
Read the full news release about LIft Ev'ry Voice & Sink Park
The vision for the park is the fruit of years of planning, meetings, and discussions with community stakeholders about how to best revitalize LaVilla, a once bustling neighborhood of arts, culture, and entrepreneurship that was often referred to as the “Harlem of the South.” The park will be a major component in a slew of efforts to revitalize this historic community. Combined with JTA’s new Regional Transportation Center, the development of the Emerald Trail, and new residential communities in the immediate area, LaVilla is rising from the ashes to once again become a vibrant part of our community.
Watch the video of designer Walter Hood discussing the design of the park
But while the future looks promising, we must not forget where we came from. This is an important time for us to honor contributions of two of Jacksonville’s most renowned citizens: the Johnson brothers.
It must be said that a park and plan of this caliber is made possible because of the collaboration and support of vested individuals and organizations who truly believe in the potential of a strong and vibrant LaVilla neighborhood.
I am grateful to all who have worked, and continue to work, to bring Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing Park to life.