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Jacksonville, FL (February 8, 2022) – This evening, the City Council voted 18-0 to approve 2022-046, which appropriates $30 million of the $100 Million FY 2021-2022 Parks, Recreation, and Community Services Department Capital Improvement Funding towards the construction of several park improvements.  Within the legislation, $2.5 million was allocated to the construction of new synthetic turf fields within Fort Family Regional Park in District 11.  The first change will be for one of the two multi-use flex fields currently within the park to be converted from natural grass to synthetic turf.  The next change will be to provide for an upgrade to the original plans of upcoming construction for a new Quadruplex Baseball Complex whereby all new fields will be installed with synthetic turf.

The funding for these enhancements came from the efforts of the Special Committee on Parks and Quality of Life, formed in 2021, to address the current and future needs of city parks, community, and learning centers as well as quality of life matters throughout the city.  The committee’s charge was to make recommendations for the distribution and oversight of $100 million allocated in the FY 2021-2022 budget.  The $2.5 million for the synthetic turf field comes via a $30 million appropriation in which the Parks, Recreation, and Community Services Department will administer.  The recommendation to approve this allocation came on a 4-1 vote in the special committee, which sent the recommendation over to the full city council for approval.

The improvements to Fort Family Park come on the heels of previous efforts to improve the existing parks in District 11, which has been a high priority for Council Member Becton since taking office in 2015.  Through his efforts to complete the 2003 Master Plan when the park was purchased by the city, Council Member Becton secured $2.2 million in Capital Improvement Projects (CIP) funds for the Baseball Quadruplex in the FY 2019-2020 budget.  The addition of the synthetic turf fields will help with the longevity of the fields making them usable throughout the year, rain or shine and will also attract high level sport tournaments to the area.

“Fort Family Park is now on its final phase towards a path of completion for the many amenities that were envisioned when the park property was first purchased many years ago” Council Member Becton noted. “Upon taking office, this park became a high priority for me, and with that emphasis we now have one of the best tennis facilities within the city.  Inclusive of the first city-owned pickleball courts, we have a naming rights sponsorship agreement with Fort Family Properties that is contributing $1 million dollars over ten years for various capital improvements within the park.  Finally, the last phase to be constructed, that of a new Baseball Quadraplex, whereby construction will be underway later this year”, Council Member Becton added.  “This appropriation for synthetic turf fields is the ‘icing on the cake’ in relation to accomplishing our goal and providing an enhancement that will greatly improve the quality and safety of these facilities to the highest level, and for that I feel mission accomplished!” Council Member Becton exclaimed.

The installation of the multi-use flex field will begin this Summer (2022) and is scheduled to be completed by Fall of this year.

In addition to the $2,500,000 to Fort Family Park, other projects funded by this appropriation are:

  • $5,000,000 for Northbank Riverwalk Artist Walk Extension
  • $5,000,000 to James P. Small Museum and Water Park
  • $5,000,000 to Cecil Field Ballfields Recreational Development
  • $2,800,000 to Myrtle Avenue Area Court Complex
  • $1,350,000 to Clanzel T. Brown Park Sports Complex
  • $1,500,000 to Drew Park
  • $6,000,004 to Countywide Community & Senior Center Improvements
  • $849,996 to Security Cameras, Safety Equipment and Electrical Upgrades

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By Joe Johnson, District 11 Executive Council Assistant and CM Danny Becton.