Mayor Welcomes New Ships, Announces Early Opening of Hanna Park

August 18, 2014  
The USS Iwo Jima pulling into Mayport on Aug. 17, 2014

USS Iwo Jima and USS Fort McHenry Arrive at NS Mayport, Hanna Park to Open at 6 a.m.

Local leaders joined the United States Navy at Naval Station Mayport today to welcome the USS Iwo Jima and the USS Fort McHenry to their new homeport in Jacksonville. With the additional 1,300 sailors and marines arriving at the base, Mayor Alvin Brown announced that the gate to the adjacent Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park will now open an hour earlier to provide base access to military personnel and earlier entry for patrons to enjoy the park.

“We are honored to be the new homeport of the USS Iwo Jima and USS Fort McHenry,” said Mayor Brown. “We welcome the ship crew and their families as our new neighbors. Jacksonville plays a key role in supporting our nation’s security posture and the United States Navy is a vital part of our community. The arrival of these two impressive ships and mission capabilities highlights the renewed growth of the Navy’s presence in Jacksonville. As a convenience to military personnel and an added benefit to park lovers, we are taking this opportunity to expand access to Hanna Park.”

See more photos from the event at Mayport

The USS Iwo Jima and USS Fort McHenry join the USS New York, which arrived late last year, to complete the change of port for the Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) from Norfolk, Va. In total, the ARG brings nearly 2,000 sailors and marines to Jacksonville.
 
To help alleviate an increase in traffic at the base’s Main Gate on Mayport Road, the City and the Navy have agreed to open base access through Hanna Park at 6 a.m. The early access begins on Monday, Aug. 18, and will be available Monday through Friday.  The agreement also allows the public to enjoy Hanna Park for an additional hour during the week.
 
"Naval Station Mayport is thankful for the level of support that the City of Jacksonville gives to its military neighbors. By opening this gate an hour earlier, we will be able to alleviate a large amount of traffic congestion at our main gate on Mayport Road and enhance the quality of life at the base and surrounding communities," said Captain Wesley McCall, commanding officer of NS Mayport.

About Hanna Park

Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park is Jacksonville’s premier oceanfront park. The facility includes beach access to the Atlantic Ocean, a 60-acre fresh water lake, camping facilities, picnic areas and biking and hiking trails. Future plans include a new playground area and improved water playground. For more information, visit www.jaxparks.com.