Jacksonville is special. We all already know this. And each of us have a different reason for thinking this. One of my favorite things to highlight about Jacksonville is that we are home to the largest park system in North America.
The City of Jacksonville maintains over 400 public and recreational spaces, ranging from traditional neighborhood parks and community centers to renowned nature preserves.
For the latest installment of my blog, I wanted to take a moment to focus on the incredible network of parks that we are lucky enough to be able to enjoy almost all year round. I hope that the next administration will carry the torch and make sure they continue to grow and thrive.
Now that the weather is cooling off, there is no better time to step outside and enjoy everything that our immense and diverse park system has to offer. The number of citizens using our parks continues to increase by 20,000+ people every year.
A major priority for our city and neighborhoods should be investing in these parks and recreational spaces, and my most recent and final budget reflects that continued commitment. That is why my administration is committing $108 million dollars to park upgrades and renovations this fiscal year. I’ve included over $10 million dollars to replace 60 playgrounds throughout the city, in addition to the 29 new playgrounds already completed.
My administration has planted over 1,200 trees in parks across the city and has sponsored public art and murals throughout the city’s parks. Our river and the surrounding waterways are a natural treasure. Preserving our watershed and maintaining a healthy ecosystem that generations of people can enjoy is one of my top investments. What good is our waterway if we cannot enjoy it? That’s why this budget continues my work to increase access and upgrade public spaces all along the water.
We are surrounded by immense natural beauty in Jacksonville, but we don’t talk about it. It is an amazing asset to our community, improves quality of life, our biodiversity, and in general helps make Jacksonville, well, Jacksonville. Visit our Flickr page to see more of Jax's parks and public art.
I encourage every person in Jacksonville to take some time in the coming days, weeks, and months to really experience our city’s natural beauty. Make a plan to get outside, enjoy the weather, spend time with family and friends, and take part in one of the most special things Jacksonville has to offer: our waterways and greenspace!