Location: Boys & Girls Club - Citi Teen Center (313 East 10th Street)
Time: 6 pm
Kelly Rich, SPAR Executive Director, welcomed the approximate 25 guests to the meeting.
Kelly introduced Gloria McNair, Community Engagement and Equity Manager for Groundwork Jacksonville, presented on Activating Jacksonville’s Riverfront.. This project has the goals of bringing people and energy to Jacksonville’s Riverfront, connecting to new and diverse audiences, developing community trust and engagement, creating a robust program calendar for an active riverfront year-round, enhancing the riverfront experience through activities and public space interventions, and providing recommendations for sustainable governance and funding models. She went over the progress so far, including sharing information and feedback that Groundwork Jacksonville has received from stakeholders via community meetings, surveys, and public programs and tours.
Kelly and Gloria discussed Hogans Creek Fest, which was held the very next day in Klutho Park, as a chance for stakeholders and residents to get a chance to talk to the engineers and designers of the creek’s restoration 1-on-1. The designers take the feedback from the community and immediately find ways to implement it into the overall design.
Kelly reminded attendees of the 2021 launch of the Joyce Holbrook Springfield Advocacy Award. Living in Historic Springfield for just over 50 years, Joyce Holbrook was a central influence in the revitalization of the neighborhood in the 1970's as a charter member of both SPAR and Springfield Neighborhood Housing Services. Joyce was central in the work to designate Springfield as a Historic District, and was fondly referred to by many as the “Mayor of Springfield.” Over her many years of community involvement, Joyce worked tirelessly to make the one-square mile of Historic Springfield what it is today. The Joyce Holbrook Springfield Advocacy Award will be presented to members of the Historic Springfield community who have proven their leadership, volunteerism, and a love for the neighborhood. SPAR worked with local artist, Ed Malesky, to create a beautifully carved wooden sculpture in the shape of the Prairie Cross, which is a well known symbol used in architecture designed by Henry Klutho. The Prairie Cross design is also incorporated into SPAR’s logo.
In 2021, the inaugural Joyce Holbrook Springfield Advocacy Award was presented to immediate Past President of the SPAR Board, Todd Hollinghead. In 2022, the SPAR Board awarded Christine Farley with this recognition. Christine has a wealth of knowledge about Historic Springfield and has dedicated much of her time to preserving the history of the neighborhood, volunteering her time with both SPAR and SIAA.
Kelly gave an update from SAMBA (Springfield Area Merchants and Business Association) and the Springfield Commercial Corridor. She informed attendees that there are currently 86 members of SAMBA, who are represented by the SAMBA Advisory Committee within the Commercial Corridors discussions. SAMBA meetings are free to visit and open to anyone in Springfield or those who want to do business in Springfield. SAMBA membership levels include two tiers for returning members (General at $100 and Executive at $250). New members of SAMBA can join at $50 for the first year with an Introductory membership. SAMBA works to invite quality speakers and include resources beneficial to small businesses. Kelly invited new and returning SAMBA members to come to the next SAMBA meeting taking place on Monday, February 14th, at 6 pm.
SAMBA sponsors two grant programs for its membership - the Quarterly Mini-Grant for members’ events and the Facade Grant. Since the inception of the Facade Grant matching program, SPAR and SAMBA have invested almost $30,000 in our local business community. SAMBA has received two applications in 2022 so far. The SAMBA Mini-Grant helps offset costs for members’ events and programs that are hosted within our Historic District. Applications for both grant programs are available on the SPAR website.
Kelly announced that SPAR is coordinating the St Patrick’s Day Main Street Block Party on Saturday March 12th from 12 pm to 6 pm. This event is a fundraiser for SAMBA. Both SPAR and our Springfield businesses are ready to celebrate with our neighborhood. Stay tuned for volunteer opportunities and event schedule.
Kelly shared that Historic Springfield will see new business openings in 2022, including House of Leaf and Bean, Camp Craft Cocktails, Bold City Yoga, Plantaja, and Stumpy’s Hatchet House. She reminded attendees to shop local, shop Springfield and that it means so much to business owners to see the neighborhood support them.
SAMBA is continuing its ongoing partnership with the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl for our local businesses to be highlighted to ticket holders as part of the Fan Experience. In May of 2021, SAMBA collaborated with UF Health Jacksonville to host UF Health Week which showed appreciation to UF Health employees by giving them discounts at participating Springfield businesses when they showed their employee badge.
Kelly shared an update about infrastructure work with the City of Jacksonville, JEA, and FDOT. SPAR was instrumental in having the Florida Department of Transportation implement 2-hour parking along Main Street as well as the addition of two handicapped parking spots between 7th and 8th Street which will be coming in early 2022. The City of Jacksonville will be doing some major improvements to 8th Street including restriping all the bike lanes and crosswalks and repainting the signal poles. A major request from nearby residents has been to add two signaled crosswalks on 8th Street. Currently, 8th & Laura and 8th & Hubbard are being considered for this in 2022.
Kelly announced the Springfield Ambassador Program thanks to a partnership with Downtown Vision, Inc. Starting in March of 2022, Historic Springfield will be welcoming a Springfield Ambassador for a 3-month pilot program under the guidance of DVI. The position will initially be funded by SPAR during the first three months, but our goal of having businesses and residents donate funds to continue the program (similar to the Off-Duty Officer fund). During this pilot program, one ambassador would be working one day each week to focus on the 12 blocks of Main Street to focus on beautification and litter abatement along our sidewalks and streets. The overall goal is to extend the coverage to eventually include all of 8th Street within Historic Springfield's boundaries. Members of the business community and residents of Historic Springfield can help by sponsoring a month, or donating a similar smaller monthly amount, towards the Ambassador program. If there are funds available, SPAR can continue to keep our ambassador working to beautify our commercial districts. You can donate towards the program here.
Kelly introduced the new Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Zone One Commander, Bradley Shivers. Assistant Chief Shivers touched on the utilization of the JSO Bike Unit in Historic Springfield and the Co-Responder Program, which is the officers who have a mental health technician in their cars throughout their shifts. There are two of these co-responder cars per zone and they respond specifically to people in mental health crisis. Another program that JSO has brought back online is Operation Clean Sweep to help and bring services to the homeless.
Tim Hope, SPAR Board President, reminded the audience to attend Sheriff’s Watch meetings on the 4th Tuesday of each month in the VyStar Community Collaboration Space at the SPAR Building (1321 North Main Street). There is a hybrid/ZOOM option, as well. For this month’s meeting, on February 22nd, the JSO Bike Unit will go over their equipment and lead a bike ride through the neighborhood. Bring your bikes.
Kelly touched on the ongoing traffic engineering throughout the neighborhood with some big wins. The West 4th Street brick project is complete! A long time goal that has been achieved is the reduction of the speed limit in the residential parts of Springfield from 30 mph to 25 mph. While it may seem slight, this will help JSO enforce the speed limit throughout the neighborhood. There will be a three-month grace period for education and letting drivers get used to the new speed limit with enforcement to begin later in the year. The 7th and Silver Street drainage project will be funded by newly passed citywide gas tax and has been prioritized to the year one CIP. It is currently in the design phase. SPAR is working with JEA to install historic light poles on Main Street from 1st Street to State & Union Streets, so that there is one connecting line from Downtown to Springfield. Installation has begun near the entrance to Springfield Park. The JEA project taking place on Boulevard and 8th Street has started to come to a close with new bike lanes installed on Boulevard. Residents can also expect to see bike lanes along 1st Street once JEA concludes the project there, as well.
Kelly introduced Crissie Cudd with Florida Homes Realty and Mortgage to speak about Springfield Market Trends in our local real estate. Crissie shared data that she compiled from MLS in regards to units sold in Historic Springfield. The data below includes the total sold in each year, how many were new builds versus needing total renovation, and median sold price, home size square footage, and price per square foot.
2020 Residential - Single Family Homes
Units Sold Total – 102
Includes New Built – 9
Includes Needing Total Renovation – 12
Total Volume Sold - $26,382,550
Median Sold Price - $260,000
Median Home Size Square Footage – 2013 square feet
Median Sold Price Per Square Foot - $139.45 (high of $240.78)
2021 Residential - Single Family Homes
Units Sold Total – 120
Includes New Built – 5
Includes Needing Total Renovation – 18
Total Volume Sold - $39,064,720 (a 48% increase over 2020)
Median Sold Price - $349,500 – a 34% increase over 2020 (highest was $580,000)
Median Home Size Square Footage – 2060 (largest was 3802)
Median Sold Price Per Square Foot - $164.85 – an 18% increase over 2020 (high of $242.57)
Breakdown by price range:
Under 100K = 4
$100,000’s = 12
$200,000’s = 34
$300,000’s = 38
$400,000’s = 24
$500,000’s = 8
*All data taken from the NEFAR MLS. MAY include errors in the data itself and does not reflect data of sales not included in the MLS, such as for sale by owners or custom homes.
Crissie suggested, with the rising value of homes in Historic Springfield, that homeowners take a look at their Homeowner’s Insurance. This is to make sure that homes are insured closer to replacement value.
Kelly celebrated the newest painted bulbout and artistic crosswalk which adorns the intersection of 9th and North Pearl streets. David Nackashi brainstormed a 3D design element for this mural. She shared that there have been city officials from across Jacksonville, as well as the state, asking for advice on how to complete a project like this in their own community.
Kelly gave an update about the public parks throughout Historic Springfield. Klutho Park’s amenities just keep growing - Steven Teller will be coming back to finish the mural on the Boulevard overpass, new tee boxes for the Disc Golf course to be installed in early 2022, and JaxFray is bringing Kickball back to Klutho from January to March of 2022. The underutilized tennis courts at the Kennedy Center, at 1st and Ionia Streets, will be restriped for Pickleball giving Pickleball players their own place to play in the neighborhood. Schell Park and Liberty Park will see upgraded and/or brand new playgrounds this year.
The Springfield Dog Park has been approved for a temporary reduction of its footprint while Springfield waits for the Hogans Creek Restoration. The fence line and walking path will be moved north about 10-15 feet from the southern border of the park, and the City of Jacksonville will build a bioswale to hold and absorb the water to keep it from entering the dog park and alleviate flooding. Alongside these upgrades, SPAR looks to upgrade the gates, lighting, and bring in agility equipment created out of repurposed concrete structures. Once installed, the agility equipment will have mosaic artwork added to it by local artists, RouxArt.
Kelly reminded residents about the importance of Neighborhood Community Clean-ups. In 2021, SPAR hosted 10 cleanups with an overall attendance of 154 volunteers who collected over 300 bags of trash. Kelly encouraged families to bring their kids to get their volunteer hours. Community Clean Ups are hosted monthly in a different quadrant of the neighborhood. February’s will take place on Saturday, February 19th, at 9 am and will be meeting at Strings Sports Brewery.
Kelly shared that the first Bike Social of 2022, to Historic Durkeeville, was a success with 50 riders, less than half of those were from Historic Springfield. The ride took attendees to Historic Durkeeville and JP Smalls Field, but also were treated to a history tour by Explore JAX Core visiting significant Black History locations along the route. The next ride will take place in April and will visit the Historic Eastside neighborhood, as well as attend a Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp Game.
Kelly announced the return of the Music on Main Spring Concert Series, sponsored by PNC Bank, to take place in Sesquicentennial Park on the last Wednesday of March (30), April (27) and May (25) with Universal Green, Baba Caiman, and Crescendo Amelia playing, respectively.
Kelly reminded residents to continue to support SPAR and the many ways in which to do so. This includes becoming a SPAR member, joining a committee, volunteering at an event, donating to a project, buying merchandise, and sharing about the positive things happening in SPR. Kelly asked all attendees to make sure that their SPAR membership is current. Make sure to get your membership key tag. The key tags are how members can receive their benefits from the #SPARPerks program, where participating businesses give discounts to our local residents and members.
Kelly thanked all for attending the meeting.
The meeting was adjourned at 7:30 pm.
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