City of Jacksonville


Parks Task Force Committee

Minutes of June 4, 2004 Meeting

I. Date, Time, Place, Attendees

A. Date, Time, Place of Meeting

Date of Meeting: June 4, 2004

Place: City Hall, Renaissance Room

Time: 8:30am

B. Attendees

1. Al Battle

2. Ann Baker

3. Anna Dooley

4. Barbara Goodman

5. Brian O'Neill

6. David Stubbs

7. Derek Rowan

8. Ford Riley

9. Gail McMorries

10. Jack Diamond

11. Jeff Meyer

12. Lyssa Kohler

13. Mark Middlebrook

14. Nathan Rezeau

15. Pamela Paul

16. Philip Elson

17. Philip Bruce

18. Richard Skinner

19. Robert Joseph

20. Robert Baughman

21. Ron Littlepage

22. Rufus Pennington

23. Susan Grandin

24. Susie Wiles

25. Ted Pappas

26. Trish Gramajo

27. William Bossuot

II. The Meeting

A. Meeting Called to Order.

Rufus Pennington opened the meeting at 8:45am and welcomed all.

Mr. Pennington's opening remarks included:

· Reference to Peter Harnik's Excellent Park System presentation at the May 20th meeting. The information would be useful in the Task Force process. Mr. Harnik subsequently sent additional information for the Committee's review.

· Reference to the Committee's decision for a July 8th Work Session with facilitator. Planning for the session was progressing.

· Aside from the July 8th Work Session and some planned field trips, the Task Force was nearing the end of the information-gathering portion of the Committee's work.

B. Jacksonville's Tree Canopy Study – Jeff Meyer

Jeff Meyer said that the Jacksonville Tree Canopy Study has been 50% funded through a grant from the United States Department of Agriculture.

CityGreen software was developed by American Forest in conjunction with the Department of Energy, EPA, US Forest Service, and the Department of the Interior. The software, using satellite technology, will give a yearly historical perspective of the COJ tree canopy (from 1985 to 2004), and will place a real-dollar value on trees for storm water retention, CO2 storage, energy savings, and ultimately quality of life. The software will identify COJ's current situation, project outward years in advance, and allow tree funds to be directed where trees are needed. CityGreen will be useful with developers to project the impact of their tree plans. Mr. Meyer said new federal regulations are being initiated that will give cities tree credits for planting trees that help stop storm water runoff.

Cities currently using CityGreen have been able to attract funding to handle problems identified through the technology. Mr. Meyer works with corporations, companies and groups to help meet their funding goals. He has recommended that the City of Jacksonville begin the CityGreen project, and reported that paperwork has been submitted. Susie Wiles said that the City would match the 50% grant funds, allowing the project to begin shortly. Based upon other cities' findings, Mr. Meyer believes the tree canopy would prove to be one of COJ's greatest assets, worth billions of dollars.

C. Status, History, and Future of Downtown Parks – Al Battle/Jack Diamond

Al Battle displayed a map as part of a conceptual Master Plan for greenscape in downtown Jacksonville. The map showed open and pedestrian space opportunities as part of a park plan. He defined boundaries of downtown as:

· State Street to the north

· I-95 on the west and south

· River's edge on the east

Mr. Battle said the focus of the plan was 'Celebrating the River' as a great park amenity, enhancing the existing greens cape, and incorporating green space into projects. Mr. Diamond offered the concept of the River as a central park, with all actions relating back to the riverfront.

Mr. Diamond invited Ted Pappas to present a previously prepared scale model of an urban park for downtown COJ. Mr. Pappas pointed out areas to develop as main boulevards for greenscape. Mr. Diamond said that parks should make a big and bold statement. He said that all property values bordering the developed green areas would increase.

Richard Skinner asked about zoning issues relating to park development. Mr. Pappas said that a strong force was needed to pull all plans together. Mr. Diamond said that structure, strong long-term leadership, a dynamic large vision, and a stick-to-it Master Plan were needed.

D. The Golden Gate National Recreation Area, National Park Service Model – Brian O'Neill

Brian O'Neill is the Superintendent of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, a 75,500-acre national park in the San Francisco Bay area. The area is one of the most heavily visited urban national parks, receiving approximately 14 million visitors annually. The park encompasses fifty (50) miles of shoreline in three (3) counties, and includes Alcatraz Island, Muir Woods and Presidio of San Francisco.

Mr. O'Neill said he would be addressing how to think about and organize those things fundamentally important to:

· developing the boldness of a parks plan

· the basic philosophical underpinnings necessary to create the best park system.

Mr. O'Neill first reviewed the progress made since 1990, noting strong leadership, funding successes, and the purchase of key lands since 1999 totaling over $200 million. Mr. O'Neill said COJ had great positioning to make the park system the best, but it would require boldness and a supporting philosophy.

Referencing San Francisco's park program analysis, Mr. O'Neill posed the following questions:

· What are the key challenges that the city faces in its park and recreation program?

· What are the guiding principles on how these challenges are going to be met?

· What are the critical core competencies that are essential for the leadership team to have for the bold plan to gain roots and be implemented?

· What are the performance measures that will be crucial?

Mr. O'Neill described the assets and growth of the San Francisco park system, and then addressed philosophies and incremental actions of a Partnership Culture.

· Traditional management of park system would not work. A sustained community and city partnership was needed to share stewardship and ownership. Buy-in to the culture was needed within the organization.

· We're only as good as whom we partner with. Strategies were needed to form, manage, retrofit, rescue, exit from partnerships. Twenty-one (21) Partnership Success Factors were developed, implemented, and practiced over time.

· Innovative, alternative financing and fundraising were needed. Excellence comes from a very diverse funding base, spread throughout the community, involving private philanthropy, volunteerism, other public sources of funds, cost recovery. In San Francisco for every $1 of federal funds brought in, $83 is leveraged from other funds.

· Build the institutional capacity to address community based constituency in support of the parks. Make park sites relative. Build an infrastructure that connects to diverse community elements and leadership.

· Utilize a non-profit support agent as an inseparable partner for organization, public relations, funding, coordination of smaller non-profits.

· Raise the bar for standards at parks; envision what a great city park system look like and aspire to reach that potential.

· Build one (1) major corporate partnership, recognized by the community, as a foundation. Use a “Cycle of Friendraising”, a series of engaging activities to build partnership relationships.


· Select the right initial project; a restoration project with a tangible end that can be done within a 4-hour time period

· Organize the project well

· Provide food and beverage

· Offer learning/education messages tied in

Second: Select a 2nd type of restoration project, with a different set of educational messages or experience from the 1st project

Third: Utilize the expertise of the corporation; focus on what it does best, such as retail, manufacturing, sales

Fourth: Involve the community in a park-related fundraising event with the corporation as underwriter

Last: Ask your new ‘engaged' partner for money

  • Successful partnership comes from re-inventing the organization

· Become managers, not doers; broker with others

· Engage each and every employee

· Clearly define the vision

· Lay out the vision, monitor it, and stick to it

E. Presentation to Brian O'Neill

Barbara Goodman, Richard Skinner and Mark Middlebrook praised Brian O'Neill's role in building state and federal partnerships with COJ, and for facilitating resource access. They presented Mr. O'Neill with a Timucuan Trail State National Park shirt.

F. Work Session

· Rufus Pennington and Susie Wiles spoke about the full-day July 8, 2004 facilitated workshop

· Rufus Pennington reminded the committee about the Castaway Island opening-day ceremony on June 5, 2004

· Susie Wiles discussed the Preservation Park Access Legislation stalled in Finance Committee

· Mark Middlebrook gave the background of Preservation Project acquisitions and Council Member concerns

G. Adjournment

The meeting adjourned at 11:30am.