Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

AREA OFFERING A NEW KIDS' ZONE; but This New Park Has Fields for Adults, Too

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

AREA OFFERING A NEW KIDS' ZONE; but This New Park Has Fields for Adults, Too

Article excerpt

Byline: SANDY STRICKLAND

Baymeadows-area resident Irma Burch had a circuitous 5-mile trip when she wanted to take her daughter to the park.

Now she's just minutes from a new regional park dedicated Tuesday. When Burch saw a sign Feb. 2 announcing the grand-opening ceremony, she was all set to go - that very weekend. But she had to wait three days until the opening.

"I think it's great," Burch said as she watched 4-year-old daughter Abby explore the park's vivid green multi-use playscape. "I like that they enclosed this area so the children are contained in here. I also like the picnic benches and pavilion and the shade it provides."

Before its opening, Burch had to take Abby to Losco Regional Park on Hood Road South in Mandarin.

The new park, at 8000 Baymeadows Road E. near Florida 9A, features two youth and two adult soccer fields, a playground, picnic facilities, concession stand with restrooms, entrance road and parking.

Councilman Art Graham, who represents the area, said residents have waited a long time during lean budget years for the park. "Today makes it all worthwhile," said Graham, one of several speakers, including Mayor John Peyton.

Graham noted that members of the Jacksonville men's rugby union team, who were at the ceremony, will use its multi-purpose fields.

The city bought the 52-acre property from the Skinner family for $3.6 million in 2002. Delays in getting it started primarily were due to lack of funding and bids that came in too high. The first phase is funded with almost $4 million in city and grant funds.

Former Councilman Matt Carlucci, who found the property, facilitated its purchase and had it funded with a bond issue, said parents and children are what will make it come alive. Pointing to the picnic benches, Carlucci said he could envision families eating a hot dog before or after a game. …

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