City of Jacksonville


Parks Task Force Committee

Minutes of Ocober 14, 2004 Meeting

I. Date, Time, Place, Attendees

A. Date, Time, Place of Meeting

Date of Meeting: October 14, 2004

Place: City Hall, Conference Room B


B. Attendees

      1. Elizabeth Kohler
      2. Trish Gramajo
      3. Mark Middlebrook
      4. Denise Ostertag
      5. T. R. Hainline
      6. Pam Paul
      7. Ann Baker
      8. Rufus Pennington
      9. Richard Skinner
      10. Anna Dooley
      11. Gail McMorries
      12. Coen Purvis
      13. Bob Baughman
      14. Lorenzo Williams
      15. Phil Bruce
      16. Clay Henderson
      17. Judith Stevens
      18. Lynda Aycock
      19. J.B. Miller
      20. Steve Miller
      21. Laurie McEwen
      22. Sgt. Hank Miller
      23. R.E. Barber
      24. C.A. Bronson
      25. A.L. Kelly
      26. Bobby Deal
      27. Laurel Beard

II. The Meeting

A. The group met in the Office of the Mayor for an organizational meeting and for presentations from the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, the St. Johns River Water Management District, Conceptual Garden Arboretum and Holland & Knight, LLP.

B. A Public Safety in Parks and Preservation Lands presentation was given by Bob Baughman, Director of the Parks Department, and Lt. Bobby Deal of the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office (JSO). JSO Chief Alton Kelly introduced the officers in attendance. Bob Baughman began his presentation with a hand out of resolution 2003-980, which is a resolution authorizing a revocable permit agreement with approved individuals to provide live-on security protection at parks designated by the Directors of the Parks Department. Currently, the Parks Department has live-on security officers at 35 sites. Trailers are the primary living quarters. Mostly, officers own their own trailers. The Parks Department provides the Pad and utility fees. Secondly, Bob Baughman provided the committee with a handout of the Park Watch program, which is a joint effort between citizens, the Parks Department and the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office. The program started with community centers. The Department is currently looking for ways to improve this program. Thirdly, the Department has proposed legislation to create park rules into Ordinances, which will give the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office some area/text to enforce the rule breakers.

The Parks Department and Jacksonville Sheriff's Office are proposing a 'Safe Park Program'. This program identifies the issues of security/safety at the various parks. Some proposed remedies are as follows:

  1. Proposed legislation to create park rules into ordinances
  2. C.E.P.T.E.D. Program - Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design. The Parks Department and Jacksonville Sheriff's Office held a work shop for staff which identified:
        a. Use principals of safe park design in upcoming development
        b. Develop system to evaluate existing parks
  3. Officer in Park Program - The Parks Department initiated this program effective October 1, 2004 , which allows for a Police Officer for the Parks Department. This officer will work with crime statistics to determine the level of crime in each area and will respond to parks related incidents reported to the police.
  4. SHADCO - Sheriff's Advisory Council. The Parks Department will assign Supervisors to attend all SHADCO meetings.
  5. PAL - The Department will partner with PAL (Police Athletic League)

Bobby Deal of the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office is the Executive Director of PAL, which is a non-profit organization that is separate from the JSO. PAL offers sports programs to all youth. Currently, PAL offers 11 sports programs, after school programs, mentoring/tutoring, etc… There are currently six officers and several recreation specialists that are dedicated to the PAL program. They receive funding from corporate sponsors and private donations. They are currently building partnerships with Public Works and Habi-Jax to improve the streets, sidewalks, removal of condemned buildings, etc…

C. Steve Miller of the St. Johns River Water Management District manages roughly 400,000 acres of land. St. Johns River Water Management District partners with the Federal and State Government. The group's primary purpose behind land acquisition is to protect water resources (wetlands) and keep the ecology wheel rolling. Mr. Miler discussed the following with the Task Force: urban interface issues, security, and partnerships in land management. He stressed the importance of having a consistent point of contact with one person in the City who has the authority to make decisions and to help move agreements and plans through the system.

D. Dr. Judith Stevens spoke about the Conceptual Garden Arboretum. The mission is to educate northeast Florida and its regional communities about native and cultivated plants, improve its beauty and atmosphere, engage in and promote the conservation and preservation of our natural resources and provide public service. She handed out the site analysis of the proposed garden arboretum and asked for the committee's support.

E. Mr. Clay Henderson of Holland & Knight, LLP gave a presentation on a world-class park system. Mr. Henderson evaluated our park system and provide the Committee the following suggestions to get from the biggest to the best:

  1. Develop a shared vision for the park system.
  2. Establish common visionary governance and a common look for park system.
  3. Secure essential parcels to complete park system.
  4. Take advantage of the nation attention that will come to Jacksonville as a result of the 2005 Super Bowl.
  5. Develop signature park in downtown area, preferably along the St. John's River.
  6. Create 'Friends of the Jacksonville Parks' to help raise funds to support the park system and to create a concept of ownership with the public in their park system.
  7. Develop formal partnerships with the National Park System and state funding sources.
  8. Nurture continuing partnerships with the National Park System and state funding sources.
  9. Balance land and facility needs with staff resources.
  10. Make St. Johns River focus of work.
  11. Create linkages of blue-ways and greenways.

F. Subcommittee updates were held. The Funding Subcommittee has focused on three areas: Need for annual capital improvement budget, dedicated funding source and budget expenditures. The Committee decided that the next meeting of the Task Force on 11/15/04 should focus on tying all the subcommittee reports into a working draft, with executive summary. A preface of each issue will be: ranking, problem/ opportunities, specific recommendation, steps to achieve. The group also suggested that the Drafting subcommittee hold another meeting.

G. Preservation updates were provided by Lyssa Kohler and Mark Middlebrook. The Master Plan and draft preservation park matrix are complete. The Mayor's preservation park access plan is progressing.

Minutes Prepared by Laurel Beard