We are very excited to announce we just received a $100,000 grant from Southwest Airlines as part of their 2015 Heart of the Community placemaking program with Project for Public Spaces (PPS). We were selected as one of six public spaces across the country to receive the grant and recently met with PPS at Southwest Airlines’ headquarters in Dallas to learn more about the program and ways we can make the park a more inviting place for all.

As part of the grant, PPS will visit us within the next few months to help us envision and develop a plan to improve the use, beauty, and enjoyment of Hemming Park. We look forward to their visit and plan to invite the community for visioning sessions soon.

So what is Placemaking?

Placemaking is the activation of a public place with the purpose of making it an inviting space for visitors, a refuge for those seeking comfort, a way to promote social interaction, and ultimately a way to help define a community. The graphic below describes the placemaking concept as an interconnected process that creates linkages and access to the ways we interact with our environment and the activity that happens within.

Central to the placemaking process is the *Power of 10*. The Power of 10 means that in order to be considered a true destination, a space should include or be surrounded by at least ten things to do. At Hemming Park, we are fortunate to have many great assets within walking distance that illustrate the Power of 10 concept. From the Main Library, MOCA Jacksonville, Sweet Pete’s and Candy Apple Cafe, Chamblin’s Uptown, our Reading Room, Café and Café Stage, and Kids’ Zone to the Florida Theatre and The Landing, we are well on our way to making our piece of the place we call downtown an inviting place for all.

We look forward to working with Southwest Airlines and Project for Public Spaces in the coming months to reimagine and reclaim Hemming Park as the heart of Downtown Jacksonville.