Look out Neptune Beach, some hot new updates might be coming your way. One of the central places in Neptune Beach is Jarboe Park. It’s been around for 30 years. But in all that time, it hasn’t really been updated much.
The Ish Brandt Beautification Committee (a 501(c)(3)), that’s had such a heavy hand in planning the parks makeover, is completely made up of volunteers. They’re planning a total overhaul of the park, filling it with diverse activities and adding much-needed landscaping.
Joshua Messinger is a Neptune Beach resident and the president of the committee. “Over the past 30 or so years, there hasn’t been a lot of attention given to the space. It’s just been minor repairs and band-aid fixes. You have to put a lot of effort into keeping spaces beautiful in Florida, especially when we live here at the coast,” he said. “I think you have to see it to understand why we’re working so hard on this.”
I walked around the park one afternoon in the heat of summer. There was only one family there when I strolled through, the parents watching their small kids play basketball. They were right about the shade … lack thereof is better to say. There was only one tree that offered shade, and the park is also pretty disjointed. A stream runs through the park, but there are only a few places to cross it. I walked around the park, but didn’t see the community garden until I was driving away.
For a park though, it’s pretty nice. I live in Riverside. There are a lot of parks there, but they’re all small and spread out. I like the idea of having one big, centralized park that everyone can go to — that everyone can become a unified community in.
But, the new master plan is hella cool. It’s Leslie Knope’s dream park. There are updated volleyball courts, tennis courts and basketball courts. Pickleball courts and play fountains. And trees everywhere.
View the master plan as a full size pdf here: Jarboe Park-Color 6-15-17 (1)
The committee is extremely passionate about creating what the community wants. Every meeting this park plan has is open to the public. On July 26, there’s one being held at the Neptune Beach library to gauge the community’s thoughts on the master plan.
“It’s very important that the community lets their voice be heard, because the city council represents its citizens. What were trying to do is make sure this plan is a complete representation of the community,” Messinger said. “It’s about making sure that what we have is the heart and soul of the community.”
After the meeting on the 26th, the master plan will go on to a workshop with city council on August 5. This workshop is where community thoughts will be implemented. If that goes well, it’s on to a city council budget meeting on August 30. It may then be voted on Sept. 18. Then, “hopefully implementation could begin in October,” said Messinger. All of the above meetings are public.