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13 months ago

J Magazine Fall 2017

The magazine of the rebirth of Jacksonville's downtown

was McCoys, and one

was McCoys, and one proposed solution was to put it underground. Klutho and the city’s engineer, Charles Imeson, came up with a better idea. In 1929, the creek was channelized, and two basins were created to retain water during flooding. But it wasn’t just an engineering exercise. With it came a masterpiece of ornamental balustrades, foot bridges and promenades that ran along Hogans Creek from Downtown to Springfield. Christina Parrish Stone is the executive director of the Springfield Preservation and Revitalization Council. “It was absolutely gorgeous,” Parrish Stone said recently while walking through the park, which is making strides to come back to full life. “It was like Jacksonville’s Central Park. It could be again, but it’s going to cost millions of dollars.” Keep that statement in mind along with the fact that turning a vision into reality can be damn hard. As is often the case, the sins of the father are visited upon the children. “Unfortunately, I don’t think the city has ever taken the steps to take care of the beautiful project that resulted (from Klutho’s work),” Parrish Stone said. The creek became highly contaminated with industrial wastes and fecal coliform. Signs warn against fishing. The balustrades and footbridges were allowed to fall into disrepair. Buildings were plopped down in parts of the park. Asphalt walkways were put in the strangest places. But it remains a magnificent piece of cityowned parkland that once again can become a masterpiece with effort and care. That’s happening. ity money has been found to begin restoring the greenway trails through the park with the proper landscaping. Parrish Stone talks excitedly about a sculpture walk that will be added C JACKSONVILLE’S EMERALD S-LINE RAIL TRAIL NECKLACE BRENTWOOD S-LINE RAIL TRAIL SPRINGFIELD DURKEEVILLE HOGAN’S CREEK PARKWAY NEW TOWN SUGAR HILL NORTH RIVERSIDE LAVILLA HOLLYBROOK PARK DOWNTOWN CORE FOREST ST PARK BROOKLYN UNITY NORTHBANK RIVERWALK MCCOY’S CREEK GREENWAY PLAZA RIVERSIDE N SOUTHBANK 10 95 MLK PARKWAY MAIN ST MARKET ST A. PHILIP RANDOLPH HERITAGE PARK to the park soon. The balustrades are not beyond repair. Lighting will be improved. The restoration of the park gets a big boost from having a neighborhood as active as Springfield. The residents paid for and maintain a disc golf course in the park. The annual “Springfield Porchfest” brings crowds of people to the neighborhood for live music on the inviting porches of homes there and in the park. “What my organization will continue to do … is to bring as many people as we can to this park,” Parrish Stone said. “I can’t tell you how many people I’ve brought here over the last seven years who have lived in Jacksonville all of their lives or most of their lives who had never seen it. “I can say everyone who has walked through here has been stunned that we have something that has such tremendous potential right here next to Downtown. Without exception, everyone recognizes that this should have been taken care of and that it has value NORTHSHORE SPORTS COMPLEX METROPOLITAN PARK ST. JOHNS RIVER EASTSIDE A. PHILIP RANDOLPH PUBLIC MARKET LINDSAY MEYER

We want to partner with you. This vital initiative would not be possible if not for the generous support of We want to partner with you. This vital initiative would not be possible if not for the generous support of community partners and donors. To get involved, contact wanda.willis@fscj.edu or bill.allen@fscj.edu. community partners and donors. To get involved, contact wanda.willis@fscj.edu or bill.allen@fscj.edu.