Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Progress on Parks; City OK's Start of Recreational Efforts

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Progress on Parks; City OK's Start of Recreational Efforts

Article excerpt

Byline: Caren Burmeister, Shorelines staff writer

Within 30 days, work crews will start building volleyball courts, jogging trails, playgrounds and plazas at two parks on the oceanfront and south end of Jacksonville Beach that will accent the city's transformation.

The work may start since the City Council, on Monday, approved a $1.1 million contract for the oceanfront park between Fifth and Sixth avenues south and $610,000 to build a vast section of South Beach Park, at Osceola Avenue and South Beach Parkway.

If the work goes as planned, both parks will be completed by early April, said City Manager George Forbes.

The council also approved $19,297 to restore a World War II memorial at Beach Boulevard and Second Street North. The memorial, which was built in 1947 to honor the 22 soldiers and three merchant marines who died in the war, had been neglected and ignored despite its central location. Members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3270 in Jacksonville Beach asked city officials this summer to help repair the memorial and restore its honor.

The city has the permits it needs to start building the 1.5-acre oceanfront park, which the city bought for $2.5 million in 2000 from a developer who had envisioned building a 13-story condominium there.

The centerpiece of the park, and its highest elevation, will be a round plaza bordered by bricks and palms that offers a clear view of the ocean. "Sea Express," a bronze sculpture of a boy riding a dolphin, will occupy the center of the plaza. It's being molded by Kristen Visbal, a Delaware sculptor who recently unveiled her bronze tribute to Olympic gold medalist Bob Hayes at A. Philip Randolph Park in Jacksonville.

The park will have a volleyball court, play area for children, dune walkover to the beach, ramp to give beach access to the handicapped and educational kiosks to explain the ecosystem, plant life, weather and sea life.

To slow traffic and create awareness of the park, a brick pavement will be set into First Street at Fifth Avenue South that's similar to the system in front of the SeaWalk Pavilion on First Street. …

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