City of Jacksonville


Parks Task Force Committee

Minutes of May 20, 2004 Meeting

F. TD&>

I. Date, Time, Place, Attendees

A. Date, Time, Place of Meeting

Date of Meeting: May 20, 2004

Place: City Hall, Renaissance Room

Time: 1:00PM

B. Attendees

    1. Rufus Pennington
    2. Allison Berry
    3. David Stubbs
    4. David Kaufman
    5. Lorenzo Williams
    6. Brad Parsons
    7. Phil Bruce
    8. Bob Baughman
    9. Lyssa Kohler
    10. Mark Middlebrook
    11. Susie Wiles
    12. Steven Vann
    13. Trish Gramajo
    14. Susan Grandin
    15. Coen Purvis
    16. Gail McMorries
    17. Ann Baker
    18. Pam Paul
    19. Richard Skinner
    20. Derek Rowan
    21. Ron Littlepage
    22. TR Hainline
    23. Barbara Goodman
    24. Brad Thoburn
    25. Lanny Russell
    26. Peter Harnik

II. The Meeting

A. Meeting Called to Order.

Rufus Pennington opened the meeting and welcomed everyone. Peter Harnik of the Trust for Public Land was introduced as guest speaker. Peter Harnik is a Washington, D.C. based environmental writer and organizer. He authored 'The Excellent City Park System: What Makes it Great and How to Get There' and 'Inside City Parks.'

B. The Excellent Park System, Peter Harnick, Trust for Public Land

Peter Harnik firmly believes that the Parks system is one of the most difficult and challenging jobs within the City. There are three issues/needs which lie within the park system: physical landscape, user conflict areas and natural issues. Peter Harnik formed a group to investigate the 25 biggest parks in the country. Within that group, they created '7 Point of Highly Effective Parks.'

1. Make sure clear expression of park system and Parks Department is established.

a) Develop a mission statement.

2. Have ongoing planning and community involvement.

a) Needs analysis survey

b) Budget

c) Staffing

d) Most importantly, develop time-line

3. Sufficient assets in land, staffing and equipment to meet the system's goals.

a) In 2002, the City of Jacksonville spent an average of $80 (operating/capital) per resident for parks. The average for the Country is $89. In 2002,, the City of Jacksonville spent an average of $30 (operating only) per resident for parks. The average for the Country is $57.

b) Areas in which Jacksonville can grow:

(1) Private fundraising (mostly through capital programs). It was discovered that the City of Jacksonville does not track private fundraising

(2) Operating budget

4. Equitable access.

a) Parks should be accessible to everyone regardless of income, handicap and residence.

b) Everyone should be served by a park and we should be thinking in terms of walking distances when parks are being developed. Each park should be within a certain distance from neighborhood homes. Other cities have one park per every six blocks.

c) Ensure that everyone is able to use the park. If certain parks charge a fee, consider having scholarship programs, free days, etc.. to ensure that those that can't afford to pay fees can still have an opportunity to use the parks closest to their homes.

5. User Satisfaction.

a) Invest in a survey that counts our users. Also consider how many men/women use the parks. If unbalanced, it could be considered a dangerous system. Consider time of the day the parks gets most usage. Consider the usage of the parks (walking, cycling, soccer, dong walking, etc…) It was suggested that the Parks Department consider utilizing a random telephone survey.

6. Safety from physical hazards/crimes.

7. Benefits for City beyond boundaries of City Park.

a) Help people to comprehend that parks add value to the City of Jacksonville by:

(1) Clean air

(2) Clean water

(3) Reduce health costs (exercise)

(4) Improve learning opportunities by offering outdoor classrooms (ecological classrooms)

(5) Increase urban tourism

(6) Increase business

Peter Harnik stated that the next phase of his research was to find a way to measure each of these factors.

C. The St. John's River Alliance

Brad Thoburn, Director of State/Federal Affairs, gave a brief overview and history of the St. John's River Alliance. The St. John's River is a 310-mile river that travels through thirteen counties. The Alliance is a private, nonprofit organization that seeks to promote, preserve, protect, restore and celebrate the St. John's River as an American Heritage River. Environmental Protection Agency is the lead agency that is driving this process. The focus will not just be on water quality. It will be on recreational opportunity and drive to keep the river healthy. They are in the process of putting together trails and will incorporate several access points to include historical and recreational sites.

D. Safe Parks

Bob Baughman, Director of Parks, Recreation and Entertainment, provided an overview on his newly developed 'Safe Parks' program. The Parks Department struggles with crime prevention on a daily basis. On a recent citizen survey, we found the number the number one issue was crime in the parks. Currently, the Parks Department has 33 live-on-site security officers and posted park rule signs within each park. Plans for improvement is as follows:

1. CEPTED – Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design. 50 employees within the Parks Department and Jacksonville Sheriff's Office attended a three day seminar on CPTED. CPTED specializes in natural surveillance (lighting), natural access control (entrances) and territorial behavior (ownership).

2. Convert Park Policies into Ordinances

3. Assign law enforcement officer to the Parks Department, who will respond to all crime issues and patrol the parks.

4. Assign staff to SHADCO (Sheriff's Advisory Council). SHADCO is an advisory board that assists the JSO by reporting criminal activity in assigned areas.

5. Partnership with PAL (Police Athletic League).

E. Scheduling of field trips and meetings

The following changes were made in the upcoming schedule:

1. The meeting location of the 6/4/04 meeting has been changed to the Mayor's Office, City Hall.

2. The 11/18/04 meeting has been changed to 11/17/04 from 9:00-12:00/Location will be announced at a later date.

3. Castaway Island Ribbon Cutting is being held 6/5/04 from 11:30 to 1:00.

F. Work Session

The group discussed Parks/Preservation as a whole and whether is should be integrated into the Parks system.. The question arose if Preservation should be a separate entity or combined with the Parks Department. T.R. Hainline has requested that Lyssa Kohler provide the Task Force Committee the specific legal documents which lists Preservation limitations in writing (bonds, deeds, title, legal restrictions, etc).

The Committee also discussed developing a mission statement/purpose. Pam Paul suggested that the group appoint a Facilitator to help gather research and present it to the group. The meeting scheduled on 7/8/04 will be a work session with the Facilitator.

Lyssa Kohler will provide the Task Force Committee members the following documentation:

1. Preservation legal documentation

2. Schedule of upcoming field visits/meetings

3. Updated ETM document

G. Adjournment

The meeting was adjourned at 4:35PM

Minutes Prepared by Laurel Lukaszewski