Location: SPAR Office Virtual Meeting (1321 North Main Street)
Time: 6 pm
Kelly Rich, SPAR Executive Director, welcomed the approximate 25 guests online to the meeting.
Kelly introduced the Perkins & Will Team. They shared their vision for the Park Redevelopment Design Competition underway for the site formerly known as The Landing.
Kelly discussed the progress of moving back into the SPAR Building at 1321 North Main Street and the Building for the Future Capital Campaign. The campaign has raised approximately $350,000 of the $500,000 goal. Every donation would greatly help SPAR move closer to the goal of covering the costs of the total restoration of the building. She showed before and after pictures of the progress within the building so far, including the layout of the downstairs Community Collaboration Center, outside staircase to the 2nd floor, and the upstairs headquarters for SPAR. Kelly shared a mockup of the Prairie Cross glass etching, which will show appreciation for donors, and will be displayed outside of the Community Collaboration Center.
Kelly gave an update from SAMBA (Springfield Area Merchants and Business Association) and the Springfield Commercial Corridor. She informed attendees that there are currently 76 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.
SAMBA sponsors two grant programs for its membership - the Quarterly Mini-Grant for members’ events and the Facade Grant. The SAMBA Mini-Grant helps offset costs for members’ events and programs. In 2021, SAMBA doubled the budget for the Facade Grant and awarded three businesses (Hof’s Printing, Bishop Classic Motors, and RE/MAX Supreme) with grants so far. Applications for both grant programs are available on the SPAR website.
Kelly shared an update about infrastructure work with the City of Jacksonville, JEA, and FDOT. Historic light poles will be installed on Main Street from 1st Street to State & Union Streets, so that there is one connecting line from Downtown to Springfield. Installation to occur this summer. Flooding issues at 7th and Silver Streets are in discussion with the City of Jacksonville with funds for this work to take place in the next 3 to 5 years. The West 4th Street Brick Project is currently underway with a goal of completion in Fall of 2021. COJ has been working with JEA to update the water and sewage on 4th Street as they do the work on the road itself. Kelly will be meeting with COJ officials to discuss the impact on residents and what to expect, including parking issues and possible inconveniences.
Kelly touched on the ongoing traffic engineering throughout the neighborhood. Residential traffic calming measures are already installed or in discussion. Bulbouts have been installed at the corners of East 3rd & Hubbard and East 7th & Hubbard and now have added murals (by local artist, David Nackashi) to make them pop even more. This is a visual “trick” used to slow down drivers on these roads and a reminder to slow down traffic on the residential streets. The process to install several bulbouts throughout the neighborhood is continuing. In addition, conversations continue to reduce the speed limit in the residential parts of Springfield from 30 mph to 25 mph. This would not include Main or 8th Streets. While it may seem slight, this will help JSO enforce the speed limit throughout the neighborhood.
Kelly discussed bicycle and pedestrian safety initiatives, which include repaving and restriping of two sections of the neighborhood to add bike lanes on Boulevard St from 7th Street to 19th Street and on 1st Street from Main Street to Palmetto Street. This will help make the neighborhood safer for cyclists and contribute to our overall BikeScore.
Kelly touched on the progress of Main Street. After three years of conversation, Main Street is projected for resurfacing in 2023. Tentatively, there is approval for the reopening of several intersections for left turns from Main Street from North or South onto side streets. Additionally, RFBs will be added at every crosswalk without traffic signals, travel lane width will be reduced from 11 feet to 10 feet, and parallel parking width will widen from 8 feet to 10 feet. A new crosswalk will be added at Springfield Park to connect it and the walkway behind JEA. These measures will help slow traffic down, make it easier for drivers to stop and shop at our businesses, and protect pedestrians.
Kelly gave an update about the public parks throughout Historic Springfield. Klutho Park’s amenities just keep growing - murals by both David Nackashi and ArtRepublic, StoryWalk, Disc Golf, Pickleball, and Kickball. Schell Park is looking to add ADA compliant construction and playground equipment this summer. Springfield Park’s updates are still at the committee stage. The Springfield Dog Park is being looked at for updates this summer including amenities, artwork, and drainage.
Kelly Rich shared that the Sheriff’s Watch meets on the 4th Tuesday of each month at 6 pm and attendees can find the ZOOM link within the Facebook event. SPAR’s Off Duty Officer Fund pays for officers to patrol the hot spots in the neighborhood during peak crime seasons. This is funded by community donations and you can set up a recurring or one-time payment through SPAR.
Kelly reminded residents of the City of Jacksonville Free Tree Program. Historic Springfield residents have the option to request trees to be planted in the neighborhood. These are not trees for your personal property, but to be planted in the City Right of Way (CROW) and they are free. If you have space on the CROW in front of your residence, you can call 630-CITY or apply via the online portal to request a tree to be planted.
Kelly celebrated that the first half of the Spring Season of Music on Main events have been a success. Mark your calendars for the upcoming dates: May 26th with Spice & the Poboys, and June 30th with DANKA. There will be a summer break during July and August, but Music on Main will return in September.
Kelly discussed the Explore the Core bike initiative. SPAR coordinates 6+ bike rides all over the Urban Core, which hosts 30-300 riders of all ages and skill levels. Riders from all over the city and even some from out of state will attend these events. Bike Socials start in Historic Springfield, at the SPAR Building at 1321 North Main Street, and will ride from there to Riverside Arts Market, Downtown Art Walk, Jacksonville Shrimp games, the Railyard Breweries, Jacksonville Jaguar Games, and Evergreen Cemetery. Within the neighborhood, SPAR hosts the newest Springfield Bike-a-Boo in October, as well as the Holiday Bike Ride and Parade during December.
Kelly presented the calendar of events for the second quarter of the year. Events include the Home Tour Community Clean Up on May 15, Historic Springfield Home & Garden Tour on May 15 and 16, Music on Main featuring Spice and the Po Boys on May 26, Community Clean Up on June 5, Historic Preservation Workshop on June 8, Community Theatre in Klutho Park: Godspell on June 25, and Music on Main featuring DANKA on June 30. Events can always be found on our calendar of events at sparcouncil.org.
Kelly urged attendees to come out to the 42nd Historic Springfield Tour of Homes and Gardens on May 15 and 16 from noon to 5 pm each day. Early Bird tickets are on sale now at SpringfieldTour.com, and SPAR members get an extra $3 off with your #SPARPerks.
Kelly reminded the crowd 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, and sharing about the positive things happening in SPR. Kelly asked all attendees to make sure that their SPAR membership is current. 2021 Key Tags are available, please pick up yours at any SPAR event or by visiting the office at 1321 North Main Street. 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 virtual meeting.
The meeting was adjourned at 7:15 pm.