Jacksonville, FL (June 21, 2018) – District 11 Council Member Danny Becton made an appearance on First Coast Living on NBC 12 with Fort Family Investments’, Abe Fort to discuss their unique partnership between the City of Jacksonville and their private company.
City Council passed legislation 2018-089 back in March stating the 9A/Baymeadows Regional Park will be renamed to Fort Family Regional Park at Baymeadows in exchange for annual payments to provide for capital improvements to enhance the park for the years to come.
The daily lifestyle and entertainment show aired twice at 11:00am and 2:00pm on June 21st on NBC channel 12. During the segment, Councilman Becton said the relationship with the Fort Family is benefiting the park in ways that would not have been possible without the passing of the bill and creation of their public-private partnership.
“They’ve committed to$100,000 a year for the next 10 years,” CM Becton said. “And it’s going to be spent right here at the park for capital upgrades. Not for replacing current maintenance.”
Since passing the bill, the City and Perimeter Realty, which is the subsidiary of Fort Family Investments, has entered into an agreement where the company is to pay $100,000 to the city annually for 10 years. Perimeter and the City can also renew the agreement for additional and successive five-year periods.
Abe Fort said it all started when Councilman Becton reached out to his family.
“CM Becton contacted us and asked us if we wanted to partner with him, infuse some capital to help the park out and that’s what we did,” Fort said.
Fort said the park is a great asset and conveniently sits right around the corner from the several luxurious rental communities Fort Family Investments own, which includes Spyglass, Cabana Cub and Galleria Club, and Hacienda Club.
“We have a lot of amenities at our sites, but we don’t have the land that the park has,” Fort said. “So, it [the park] gets a lot of use from not just our residents, but residents all over the city.”
Becton said “the yearly payment of $100,000 will go straight to bettering the park and the experience residents have there. It’s always about quality of life, to enhance things for residents and have places to go,” Becton said. “This park has huge waterway. It has a flex field for football, soccer. But, we also just had the newest tennis facility just recently open.”
The park recently became a home for the first Pickle Ball facility in Duval County and Becton said they are working on putting in a $4.5 million baseball quadraplex their too.
Becton points out that having this public-private partnership has enabled them to discuss ideas that were never even on the drawing board with the city, and even more important, work hand-in-hand with the residents.
He said he’s already heard requests for more walking paths and opening up the lake for future kayaking.
“We will be able to partner with the community and say ‘how do we spend this money,’” Becton said. “But this will be a conversation that I have with the community, as well as, the Forts’ to enhance what we already have, which a great asset to the community.”
The park has been around since the early 2000’s, and Councilman Becton said it didn’t get its fair share of dollars like a lot of other parks in the city.
“There are rusty things, and things that need be improved. We had a recent addition of the flex fields being re-sodded and re-irrigation, which helps,” Becton said. “But there are a lot of capital improvements to be done.”
But since passing legislation 2018-089, Councilman Becton said they will now be able to step up to the plate and make it happen.
As part of this agreement, signage will be changed to designate the new name as “Fort Family Regional Park” on the entrance marquee which Perimeter Realty will take care of the costs. The city still remains as the title holder and operator of the park.
Fort Family Investments, along with its property management subsidiary Perimeter Realty Inc., began in 1972 by Donald Fort. Fort Family Investments owns and manages 225,000 square feet of commercial properties while focusing on apartment development, primarily in South Jacksonville and one in Jacksonville Beach. Its seven completed projects comprise 1,860 units and has built luxury apartment rental communities including Hacienda Club, Cabana Club and Galleria Club, Spyglass, Alaqua and Palm Bay Club apartments in District 11. Currently under development is the 464-unit Luxor Club in Flagler Center.
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