Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Ball Fields Bloom above Old Dump Sites

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Ball Fields Bloom above Old Dump Sites

Article excerpt

Byline: Sandy Strickland

Dear Call Box: Since moving to Jacksonville, I've had the pleasure to go to several parks here in Jacksonville. One is Rondette Park off Fort Caroline Road in Arlington. The other is a soccer park off Southside Boulevard. Someone told me that there are several parks in Jacksonville that were built on top of garbage dumps dating to the early 1950s and '60s. I'm just curious if that's true or not.

W.L., Jacksonville

Dear W.L.: Quite a few parks were built on or near former dumping grounds of one kind or another, including the two you mention. Rondette Park opened on a 10-acre site in 1974 as Arlington Park, according to the city's parks department website. Adjacent land once had been a landfill mostly for disposal of construction and demolition debris.

The park is home to the Rondette Athletic Association, which has helped maintain and improve its baseball fields. When property adjacent to the park was targeted for private development, area residents Andy and Toni Crawford purchased 42 acres to preserve the site, which contains Rondette Lake, the website said. The Crawfords sold the tract to the city in 2000 for expansion of the park. The property on both sides of Rondette Lake Road remains in a natural, undeveloped state, the website said.

As for 9A/Baymeadows Regional Park, the city purchased the site at 8000 E. Baymeadows Road in 2002. It has four soccer fields, grills, picnic shelters and tables, a multi-use playscape and a concession stand with restrooms. The property was used to store tree limbs and branches after a trio of storms hit Jacksonville in 2004.

"There were literally mounds of debris here," then-Mayor John Peyton said at the groundbreaking ceremony in 2006, according to a Times-Union story. "It will be nice to see it returned to the citizens for all to enjoy."

By the way, Earl Johnson Memorial Park at 5308 St. Augustine Road on the Southside used to be a landfill before it was cleaned up and converted into youth soccer fields in 1990. The site also contains fishing lakes.

Dear Call Box: Is there any way to recover lost mail without a tracking number, and what do you do if the lost mail contained a check payment? …

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