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Act Now to Support the Esplanade Plan

Earlier this summer, Jimmy Orth, St. John's Riverkeeper, and Susan Powell, executive director of Scenic Jacksonville, shared plans at the monthly BAM meeting to create public space along the Jacksonville downtown riverfront.

Riverfront Parks Now needs our help in the next step of this important effort: supporting the duPont Fund’s inspirational Esplanade Plan that joins Metropolitan Park and the Shipyards into one cohesive, iconic park. The Esplanade Plan is the preliminary result of the duPont Fund’s ongoing Riverfront Activation Study done in conjunction with international design firm DVDL and WXY and Groundwork Jacksonville.

The Esplanade Plan establishes our desired Riverfront for All by applying well-thought-out social, cultural and urban planning principles and creating a cohesive, resilient riverfront with activated, vibrant public spaces. This is not yet a firm park plan as community engagement is still underway. The preliminary plan includes cultural entities such as the Naval Ship Museum, the Fire Museum and Museum of Science and History (MOSH); spaces dedicated to boutique retail, rooftop cocktails and dining; multiple walking paths, trees, shade, and scenic outlooks; kayak, boating and fishing access; kids play and splash parks, and more. Additionally, connections to the Emerald Trail are planned at Hogan’s Creek, Bay Street, A. Philip Randolph and via the Riverwalk. We are advocating for pedestrian-friendly, tree-lined street design for Bay Street and A. Philip Randolph.

What you can do:

The City’s firm commitment is needed to align around the Esplanade and take tangible steps towards making it a reality.

1. Write to the City Council, the Downtown Investment Authority and the Mayor. Click here for a list of decision makers.

  • Support the holistic vision of the Esplanade Plan and the protection of the defined public riverfront property as shown (49.5 acres) to ensure the permanent connection of Metropolitan Park and the Shipyards.

  • Fund the Esplanade with a phased approach commencing with park design next year to ensure that the Esplanade, the Riverwalk, park features, piers and the park extension to Met Park are designed and constructed at a world-class level with a focus on resilience.

  • Commit Phase I funding for the portion of the Esplanade plan that is the replacement for the Kids Kampus park property (denoted as Shipyards Park West). In order for the proposed Four Seasons Hotel to be constructed as planned on the former Kids Kampus Park, a suitable replacement must be provided and funded.

  • Keep the identified developments along Bay Street and behind the raised green berm (path) which serves as the resilient protective edge.

2. Write a Letter to the Editor at Regular letters are 200 words max, lead letters 350 words. Brevity helps. See “How to submit a letter.”

3. Talk to your friends and neighbors and encourage people to support this effort, and follow Riverfront Parks Now on social media and by signing up for this newsletter.

4. Attend the noticed meeting below, Wed August 25th in person or virtually: Zoom meeting ID 960 4549 7612

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