Write to the National Park Service today

In October, the City of Jacksonville submitted a proposal to the National Park Service (NPS) to swap Metropolitan Park for a portion of the Shipyards, as shown on the map.

Scenic Jacksonville and Riverfront Parks Now urge denial of this proposal because the property suggested for the swap is inferior and not a sufficient substitute.

  • Specifically, the current 23-acre Metropolitan Park is well configured, in good condition, with mature trees, electrical/plumbing, and a marina. None of these elements exist at the proposed site.
  • The proposed site is smaller, poorly configured, and not in comparable condition.  The land is contaminated and there is no known proposal or funding for remediation.
  • Riverfront parks should be increased, not decreased.

We support a resilient riverfront to include a destination park with active recreational benefits that can serve as a catalyst for surrounding economic development across Bay Street.

We seek a well-planned holistic vision for a resilient, publicly accessible downtown riverfront.

Let’s not let this precious land be forfeited forever.

Gwen Smith, gwen_smith@nps.gov (National Park Service) and Rebecca Wood, rebecca.wood@floridadep.gov (Florida Department of Environmental Protection)
With a copy to:
City Council President Tommy Hazouri, thazouri@coj.net
DIA Board Chair Ron Moody, rmoody@moodywilliams.com
DIA CEO Lori Boyer, boyerl@coj.net

Your City Council Member and all At Large Members.  Here is the link to City Council Contacts 

Additional Context and Rationale:

Riverfront Parks Now submitted a formal response to the NPS urging denial, showing how it does not meet the specific NPS criteria, and also describing how it does not meet the goals of the Florida Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP).  While that is a more technical document, what you need to know is this:

  1. The city proposes that Metropolitan Park be replaced with an 11.8-acre horizontal site, not all of which will be riverfront.
  2. While the NPS grant covered 14 acres, the entire 23-acre Metropolitan Park needs to be considered as a combined park.
  3. The proposed site is inadequate in terms of size, configuration and condition as compared to the current Metropolitan Park.
    1. The current 23-acre Metropolitan Park is well configured, in good condition, remediated, with mature trees, electrical, plumbing and a marina. None of these elements are in the proposed site.
    2. The park area between the proposed museum and Bay Street is broken up due to presumed need for driveways and vehicle accessibility.
    3. The Shipyards site is contaminated, and there are no plans for remediation are presented to convert the land into recreational land.
  4. Resiliency should be nature-based first and foremost, so park lands along the riverfront should be expanded, not reduced.
  5. This is precedent-setting for all protected park lands, especially since there is not a compelling rationale.

Click here for a copy of the full letter Riverfront Parks Now sent to the National Park Service.