City of Jacksonville


Parks Task Force Committee

Minutes of September 16, 2004 Meeting

I. Date, Time, Place, Attendees

A. Date, Time, Place of Meeting

Date of Meeting: September 16, 2004

Place: City Hall, Mayor's Office

Time: 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM

B. Attendees

1. Anna Dooley
2. Derek Rowan
3. Elisha Wilson
4. Suzanne Jenkins
5. Mark Middlebrook
6. Warren Caterson
7. Jody McDaniel
8. Lanny Russell
9. Barbara Goodman
10. Bob Baughman
11.Susie Wiles
12. John Delaney
13. Rufus Pennington
14. Art Graham
15. Trish Gramajo
16. Philip Bruce
17. David Stubbs
18. Coen Purvis
19. Lynette Self
20. Gail McMorries
21. Elizabeth Kohler
22. Pam Paul

II. The Meeting

Rufus Pennington welcomed everyone and thanked them for attending, especially City Council members Jenkins and Graham. Mr. Pennington welcomed former Mayor John Delaney, and thanked him for taking the time to speak to the Parks Task Force.

Mr. Delaney indicated that he would focus his talk on the St. Johns River, the history of the Preservation Project Jacksonville, and the significance of a downtown park. In regards to the River, when the St. Johns was designated an American Heritage River, the City began to focusing on the River as a resource. He also mentioned that he thinks it is okay to place public facilities such as a library or a museum on the River, but not a public office building. Regarding the Preservation Project, the program began as a growth management project. The City researched the amount that Duval County contributed to the State Florida Forever program compared to the amount being reinvested in the County through the St. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD), and found a large discrepancy. Also, at the time, Jacksonville was the only city in the United States where the National Park Service and the local government were working together to add growth to the parks. Regarding downtown parks, Mr. Delaney indicated that his administration tried to purchase land for a park, but was outbid. He does think it is a priority.

Questions and Answers/ Discussion:

Opinion on a dedicated source of funding for parks?

Delaney is opposed to the idea, because he thinks it leads to a lack of incentive and hard work. He recommends justifying the level of funding annually.

Funding Landscape: Through partnering with the state?

The park systems will grow with the COJ investing in NPS land. Duval County is still receiving the short end of the funds for preservation land acquisition from the state compared to contributions. The SJRWMD's acquisition strategy has been big, wet, and cheap, but we should convince the SJRWMD that Jacksonville's land is selling so fast, that it must be acquired now or never.

Redesigning the management of park system?

Governing board: The most accountable would be elected officials. Council members know what the citizens want but park operations should go through the Administration. JEDC as model for governing board.

Public access for the preservation lands?

Do on a case-by-case basis, but more access is better than less. Council woman Jenkins encouraged creating areas for JSO Stop Stations in more remote parks to create a security presence.

What are your thoughts on the potential location of the cruise terminal in the Timucuan Preserve?

The thought bothers him, and he thinks another location would be better.

What is your reaction to park user-fees?

Mr. Delaney feels that entrance to a preserve with trails should be free, but if there are amenities such as restrooms, a canoe launch, boat ramp, camping, programs, etc. then fees are fine. Ensure that fee collection costs are not higher than revenues.

Mayor Delaney closed by wishing the Task Force good luck and thanking them for their service to the community. Mr. Pennington closed the meeting and thanked everyone for coming.