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While under contract with the City of Jacksonville, it has been the plan of Friends of Hemming Park to implement placemaking projects and bring regular amenities and programming to the park. Since beginning in October 2014, we have been made significant improvements to Hemming Park by providing friendly ambassadors and dedicated security. We have added two stages for entertainment and programs, moveable tables and chairs, an open-air outdoor seating area called Charlie’s Café and a Kids Zone, and we have softened some of the hard spaces in the park which remained unchanged for over the past 30 years. In our tenure, we have benefited from community partnerships and have collaborated with businesses such as MOCA Jacksonville, the main branch of the Jacksonville Public Library, Sweet Pete’s and Candy Apple Café, to name a few. We have a dedicated social services coordinator who works with individuals in the park and library and has assisted over 3,000 points of contact, created over 300 résumés’, and placed over 50 people in housing. It has been our honor to be a part of large-scale events such as First Wednesday Art Walk, GastroFest, Bourbon & BBQ, and the Hemming Park Beer Festival.
As one of the transit stations for JTA’s Skyway, Hemming Park has seen an increase in pedestrian traffic, loitering and panhandling. Since the closing of the Jacksonville Day Resource Center in October 2015, the park has become a gathering place for transients and those needing social service. The park has become a focal point for meetings, gatherings and field trips. To accommodate this sector of downtown, we propose several short-term design changes for Hemming Park in order to comply with CPTED (Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design) and LID (Low Impact Development) practices.
Our proposed capital improvement site plan outlines our strategic recommendations for Hemming Park. Over the next few months, our organization plans to implement retrofitting measures, add native plants and sculptures, and balance the need to move high pedestrian traffic during lunch hours and large-scale events and provide public access. We propose that the City of Jacksonville invest, $175,000 which will be earmarked for capital improvements outlined in this plan.
Along with the daily cleanliness and safety measures by our Ambassador and security staff, our plan includes:
Recommendations for future physical changes to Hemming Park are shown in the attached appendices of this document.
In addition to these capital improvements, the passage of the ordinances and changes in park rules that resulted from the City Council Special Committee on Hemming Park will have a dramatic improvement in making Hemming more welcoming once they become effective. In Ordinance 2017-1, a significant change is the ability of the Sheriff to designate any law enforcement officers to issue notices of trespass. A designation of our security officers by the Sheriff to issue notices of trespass will be a key component in making Hemming Park more welcoming.
Based on recent activity in the park, we would like to add to the park rules a limitation on the size bag you can bring into the park (similar to the library rule); and a rule for encroachment of preventing others to enjoy the park.
We strive every day to create the most fun, safe and engaging space possible in our Downtown core, and look forward to more open dialogue in the coming months and years as we continue our work for the people of Jacksonville while making Hemming Park a clean and safe space of which visitors and the entire City can be proud.
In conjunction with this Capital Improvement is a Five-Year Plan outlining an overall redesign of Hemming Park and is an augmentation to the Project for Public Spaces (PPS) effort and a combination of input from the key Hemming Park stakeholders. It is our vision that working with the City of Jacksonville that Friends of Hemming Park can raise significant private dollars to make this redesign a reality.
Friends of Hemming Park
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