City of Jacksonville


Parks Task Force

Funding Subcommittee

Minutes of November 2, 2004 Meeting

I. Date, Time, Place, Attendees

A. Date, Time, Place of Meeting

Date of Meeting: September 9, 2004

Place: Mayor's Office Conference Room

Time: 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM

B. Attendees

T.R. Hainline, Chair
Ann Baker
Susie Wiles
Phil Bruce
Mark Middlebrook
Susan Saltsgiver
Elizabeth Kohler
Jody McDaniel

II. The Meeting

Subcommittee Chair T.R. Hainline welcomed the group and reviewed the latest draft outline of the Parks Task Force Funding Subcommittee.

Phil Bruce, Chief of Planning for the Department of Parks, Recreation, and Entertainment, reviewed findings from a study his team conducted for the Parks Task Force. The study compares parks systems in cities across the nation to the City of Jacksonville's parks system, in regards to governance, organizational structure, funding, security and general excellence.

One statistic compared the amount of parks funding per resident per year:

$28 = Jacksonville
$160 = Minneapolis
$58 = Boston
$132 = Cincinnati
$131 = Chicago
$170 = Denver
$54 = New York
$120 = Phoenix
$99 = Portland
$83 = San Diego

The ten cities compared have mixed funding methods including bond funds, concessions, fees, (maintenance) assessment districts, taxes, dedicated funding sources, etc, but all of the ones with high levels of funding have strong private funding mechanisms in place, such as Boston's Emerald Necklace Conservancy.

Bruce then discussed funding in relation to the revised organization chart for the COJ Parks Department as defined by the Parks Task Force governance subcommittee. He estimated that the Department would need an additional $4 million in the annual budget for the proposed additional 110 positions to be added. That would take the annual budget for the Department from $27 million to $31 million. The 110 positions include 42 new maintenance workers as well as some Department part time hours.

The group then discussed the matrix documents that have been recently developed by the Parks Department Planning team. The $130 million FOCUS matrix addresses moving poor graded parks to a fair grade, complying with the 2010 Comprehensive Plan (i.e. in relation to number of ball fields needed per planning district), and completion of unfinished park development projects. The $107.5 million preservation park matrix addresses development of the preservation lands into preservation parks. The $5 million concessions matrix involves needed upgrades to park concessions. The $25 million boat ramp matrix addresses renovation of existing (26) ramps and acquisition of property for new ramps or for parking areas near existing ramps. If one adds together these needs, plus the estimated $4 million for the new positions described above (note: annual figure), the total comes to $271.5 million.

Discussion ensued about boat ramps, costs, and potential revenue to be generated through fees.

Middlebrook discussed that the land acquisition dollars under the $130 million for the focus matrix is mostly for catch-up needs and does not include long-range park land acquisition needs for active parks.

Chairman Hainline asked about the timeframe for the various matrices: The portions of the Focus matrix linked to the City's comprehensive plan must be accomplished by 2008 / 2010. The Boat ramps and concessions are not tied to a particular date, but the need is now. Preservation is a five to ten year program, with two to four parks coming on line per year. The forward – looking park land acquisition would be a five to ten year program. FOCUS and boat ramps could be considered needs, while preservation could be considered a wish list (but the public has been vocal about wanting access to the preservation lands, walking paths, etc.).

Bruce – The FOCUS represents a lower standard than best, and if the desire is to take the parks from fair to good, then the amount needed will be much higher. Additionally, there are many parks that need new fencing, upgraded restrooms, etc.

Middlebrook echoed that costs for park maintenance, future renovations and improvements, etc. are not built into the $271.5 million figure. Also that it would cost approximately an additional $50 million to accomplish forward looking park land acquisition. Also, remember these are 2004 figures / estimates. Finally, it is important to note that approximately the same amount of money was spent on improvements to active parks as was spent on preservation land acquisition over the same time period (~1999-2003).

Chairman Hainline indicated that he would draft the introduction to the funding committee report (i.e. 'We are in a deficit situation now and there is an immediate need for funding…')

Commissioner Baker asked whether the matrices included downtown parkland acquisition and added that we need to plan for this now because prices are going to continue to climb. Mrs. Baker recommended looking at vacant lots in downtown and thinking about creating parks out of them. Additionally, she expressed concern that the matrices do not include funding or prioritization for revamping parks, such as downtown's Hemming Plaza.

Middlebrook suggested that if one wanted to develop a rough cost estimate for downtown parkland acquisition, one could use the property appraiser's database and develop a formula based on distance from river, etc. Also use the Downtown Vision's target for number of downtown residents (10,000) and multiply by target acres per downtown resident to get target acreage.

Chairman Hainline expressed that he would like to include future park land acquisition, including downtown park land, into the funding report.

Jody McDaniel was asked to provide Chairman Hainline with the following:

  • information on downtown parks and estimated funding needs
  • estimated figures for future parkland acquisition (beyond downtown)
  • estimated figures for moving the fair rated parks to a good rating

Chairman Hainline adjourned the meeting.

Note: After the meeting, Jody McDaniel provided the following information:

  • The FOCUS plan's figure of $130 million includes both future acquisition and development costs.
  • The figure for acquisition of property (est. 192 acres needed by 2010) is $19,200,000.
  • Ms. McDaniel also provided an estimate for acquisition of downtown land for parks. 16.82 acres need to be acquired at $50 per sq. ft. is $36,633,960. The cost is for acquisition of land only and does not include demolition or construction.