The Jacksonville City Council also passed another special project at last night’s special session. In a unanimous decision, the council agreed to a $52,000 project to install sidewalks at Veterans Park on the city’s upper west side. $25,000 is being utilized from the city’s capital improvement budget. The city’s Parks & Lakes Budget will fulfill the remaining costs. Adam Fletcher, Park Sites Director, said during the meeting that part of the allocated money from the Jacksonville Public Pool will be moved into the project.
Adam Fletcher, Director of Park Sites for the city, says that the first phase of renovating the park will help provide more access to residents: “We are going to be installing sidewalks to gain access from the east side of the park to the west side because right now, there are no sidewalks that run through the park. We would like to have on the intersection of Parnassus [Place] and Woodland [Place] a ramp, hoping to gain ADA accessibility on that east side of the park. Gaining a handicap-accessible ramp on that part of the park would give everyone access to the park. That’s really what we are going for. We are just trying to make for a little easier accessibility for everybody, and we always try to keep everyone in mind when doing these kinds of projects.”
Fletcher says that full renovation of the park has been broken down into phases so the Parks Department doesn’t ask for a large chunk of money from the city’s funds at once. He says Phase II and Phase III will deal with amenities at the park. Fletcher says Phase II will deal specifically with the utility courts: “We would like to turn the utility courts into usable courts again. We plan on having basketball hoops on one end and then have a tennis court on the other side. We also want to have it lined out with pickle ball lines, shuffleboard lines, and bocci ball lines. Any of the activities we can get on there, we would like to get on there as a part of an all-purpose utility court there in the park.”
Phase III is expected to be the most expensive portion of the renovation. Fletcher would like to update the playground equipment and expand the size of the dog park. He says the dog park expansion will likely come once the sidewalks are installed so they can extend the fence line.
The sidewalk project is likely to have 3 to 4 trees in the park removed. Fletcher says in his current arbor program for the city, he hopes to replace the older trees with 2 new trees in their place. Work is expected to begin on the project by K.E. Vas within the next few weeks.