Location: Wells Fargo Community Learning Center (1601 N. Main Street)
Time: 5:30 pm
Kelly Rich, SPAR Executive Director, welcomed the approximate 44 guests to the meeting. She shared with attendees that there are a lot of ways to get involved with Springfield and SPAR: you can volunteer at an event, join a SPAR committee, donate to a SPAR program, and, also, share the positive changes that are occurring in the neighborhood with friends and family.
Kelly introduced the first guest speaker of the evening, Dawn Lockhart of the COJ Homelessness Task Force. A little over two years ago, Mayor Lenny Curry created a team of experts and service providers and charged them to find solutions to end homelessness in Jacksonville. New data from Changing Homelessness shows that in 2018 in Duval County, there were 1,640 homeless persons. In 2019, that number decreased to 1,494. In February of this year, the new Urban Rest Stop opened at the Sulzbacher Center in partnership with Mental Health Resource Center. It provides important and needed services to some of Jacksonville’s most vulnerable citizens. The program was made possible by a $120,000 City grant and includes case management services, showers, health care, meals, and job assistance. Those in need have access to the location and its services Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Kelly, then, introduced Jimmy Judge, who is the Assistant Chief for Jacksonville Sheriff's Office Zone 1. He addressed concerns about the homeless in McPherson Park and crime in the neighborhood. He shared that the city is working on updating city ordinances to empower better enforcement of rules that support a clean and safe city. Residents should contact JSO to report any illegal activities in the parks, such as drinking alcohol, littering, camping, being present when the park is closed, etc.
Kelly Rich shared that the SPAR Design Review Committee is the liaison between homeowners and the Historic Preservation Commission regarding COAs, Windows, Fences, and Doors, and Code Enforcement. They shared that it’s important to get the word out to neighbors in discussing these historic properties and preserving the fabric of these homes; by maintaining them and becoming more educated on what needs to be done as homeownership continues to grow in the area. SPAR is hosting multiple workshops with the City of Jacksonville’s Planning Department throughout 2019 to educate residents on the COA process, Windows, Doors, and Fences, and Code Enforcement. The next one will be on May 28th on the COA Process.
Kelly Rich gave an update from SAMBA (Springfield Area Merchants and Business Association). There are currently 85 members of SAMBA. In 2018, the average attendance for a SAMBA meeting was 20 people, and in 2019 that has grown to an average of over 30 per meeting. SAMBA meetings are free to visit and open to anyone in Springfield or those who want to do business in Springfield. SAMBA works to invite quality speakers and include resources beneficial to small businesses. The next SAMBA meeting will be at Wafaa and Mike’s on May 13th.
Aaron Glick, chair of the Commercial Corridors and Beautification Committee, gave an update on projects they are working on. This includes tree planting in Springfield, a congratulations to SIAA and their tree well project, pedestrian safety upgrades with the Florida Department of Transportation, and the SAMBA Advisory Committee. There are a couple of businesses that are expected to open in the next few months, Strings Sports Brewery and 1748 Bakehouse. The latest recipient of the SAMBA Facade Grant was Strings Sports Brewery.
Crissie Cudd with Southern Moss Realty gave an update on the market trends in the Springfield neighborhood.
Kelly shared an update on the Residential Revival Project. The first work weekend was a success with 22 volunteers giving their time and efforts to the home at 223 W 8th Street. Special thanks to CBV Cares, The City of Jacksonville, and LISC for being partners on this project. The next work weekend will be on June 7 and 8.
The Springfield Tour of Homes and Gardens is coming up, and Kelly shared information about the tour. It will run on Saturday and Sunday (May 18th-19th) from 12-5pm on both days. The check in for the event will be at Sesquicentennial Park. And SPAR is excited to have a vendor market on both days, highlighting small businesses in our community.
There are two more Music on Main events scheduled for Sesquicentennial Park. On May 27th, The Groove Coalition will be performing and on June 26th, the Junco Royals will be playing. Kelly also shared that the application to use Sesquicentennial Park is available on the SPAR website. SPAR also has four more Explore the Core bike socials on the calendar: June 1st is a ride on the S-Line, September 8th is a tour of the murals in the Eastside, October 12th will be a bike ride to San Marco, and December 17th will be the annual Holiday Ride through the Springfield neighborhood.
Kelly thanked Wells Fargo for hosting the meeting and Bleu Chocolat for the refreshments.
The meeting was adjourned at 7:15pm.