Location: Hyperion Brewing Company (1740 N Main Street)
Time: 6 pm
Kelly Rich, SPAR Executive Director, welcomed the approximate 50 guests to the meeting.
Kelly introduced Ralph Davies, Real Estate Chief Investment Officer for Future of Cities. Ralph presented on the development and regenerative placemaking strategies taking place in the Phoenix Arts District. The vision of Future of Cities is that with patience and careful, thoughtful planning that you can create outside social and economic deterrents. Ralph discussed how Historic Springfield and Phoenix Arts District can support each other, as well as how excited they are to jointly work with Groundwork Jacksonville on bringing the Emerald Trail to fruition given that it will run right through the property. He also introduced Jacksonville local Emily Moody, as Future of Cities’ new Director of Community Engagement.
Kelly Rich introduced Billy from Corner Lot Development Group who is developing the project at 1st and Main Streets. This will be a mixed use project and they will be repurposing the current structure (closer to JEA) and then expanding further north up to 2nd and Main. Corner Lot has been working diligently with SPAR and the local community to pay homage to local architecture. They expect to have 201 residential units with an interior courtyard, pool, and fitness facility. In addition, they are working with COJ to have about 8 units that are on the ground floor for residential on Main Street. Corner Lot has been working to beautify the adjacent alley in its traditional historic state and to keep it open for residential units along it. There will be a parking garage inside their property with an entrance on 2nd Street. This bodes well with the planned construction on Main Street with FDOT and looks to not cause any additional congestion. Permits and paperwork are currently with the City of Jacksonville, so there’s no official groundbreaking date yet. Corner Lot is optimistic for a late Fall/early Winter start date.
Kelly gave an update from SAMBA (Springfield Area Merchants and Business Association) and the Springfield Commercial Corridor. She informed attendees that there are currently 84 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, May 9th, 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 $35,000 in our local business community over the past five years. SAMBA has awarded three Facade Grants so far in 2022 to Historically Hoppy Brewing Company, Stumpy’s Hatchet House and Dreamette Springfield. The SAMBA Mini-Grant helps offset costs for members’ events and programs that are hosted within our Historic District. In 2022, SAMBA has awarded Creative Escape Co for a local art exhibit taking place at Brick & Beam and Icecapade Frozen Treats for their upcoming International Cuisine dinner series. Applications for both grant programs are available on the SPAR website.
Kelly announced that the St Patrick’s Day Main Street Block Party on Saturday March 12th was a success. This was an event that SPAR took on from the Main Street businesses and is a fundraiser for SAMBA. The businesses thrived and had a wonderful day. SPAR is looking forward to continuing this event in the future.
SAMBA works to support our businesses by marketing to the rest of the city with ongoing partnerships with different entities that help introduce more of Jacksonville and more of the city’s visitors with Historic Springfield. SAMBA is proud to announce the return of UF Health Week which shows appreciation to UF Health employees by giving them discounts at participating Springfield businesses (10 in 2021 and 15 in 2022) when they show their employee badge. This year, UF Health Week includes an Appreciation Night on Wednesday, May 11th, at Hyperion Brewing Company from 4 pm to 8 pm. All are invited to this event to engage with UF Health employees and welcome them to the neighborhood. In addition to the above, SAMBA also works with the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl for our local businesses to be highlighted to ticket holders as part of the Fan Experience.
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 new trash cans in different spots along the commercial corridor.. The addition of handicapped parking spots between 7th and 8th Street has been approved and we are awaiting implementation.
Kelly gave an update on the Springfield Ambassador Program thanks to a partnership with Downtown Vision, Inc. Starting in March of 2022, Historic Springfield welcomed a Springfield Ambassador for a 3-month pilot program under the guidance of DVI. The position is initially funded by SPAR during the first three months, but the goal is to have businesses and residents donate funds to continue the program (similar to the Off-Duty Officer fund). During the pilot program, Ronco and Brandy work 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 and North Pearl 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. Thank you to Kharis Quaintance and Prudential for their $1000 donation to this program.
Kelly touched on the monthly Sheriff's Watch meetings. Historic Springfield has a new Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Zone One Commander, Bradley Shivers. The Sheriff’s Watch meetings are 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. Join this month’s meeting taking place on Tuesday, May 24th.
Kelly went over the ongoing traffic engineering throughout the neighborhood with some big wins. 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 our neighborhood streets. Historic Springfield is currently in the middle of 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 worked 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. This project is complete. 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 sometime this summer, as well. Four different artistic crosswalks have been installed throughout the neighborhood if you haven’t seen them go check them out. More are on the horizon upon approval from COJ.
Kelly gave an update about the upcoming Main Street improvements from FDOT. Resurfacing will take place from State and Union and all the way to Trout River. The whole of Main Street should not be closed during this project with, at least, one lane remaining open at all times with contractors working in small sections. The benefit of the repaving is that as that work is being done, some long time wish list items for the neighborhood will be able to occur at the same time with some of those funded by the newly passed Gas Tax. 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 with the incorporation of the Emerald Trail. These measures will help slow traffic down, make it easier for drivers to stop and shop at our businesses, and protect pedestrians. Design is starting to be finalized and will be going out to bid soon for a possible start date of Fall 2023.
Kelly gave an update about the public parks throughout Historic Springfield. Schell Park’s playground is newly installed! Liberty Park will not be too far behind. Klutho Park’s amenities just keep growing - Steven Teller will be coming back to finish the mural on the Boulevard overpass, kickball continues, and there have recently been some great disc golf upgrades. 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.
SPAR is excited to partner with the City of Jacksonville and RouxArt to bring dog agility equipment to Springfield Dog Park. Repurposed from precast concrete structures (donated by COJ Public Works), like culverts and tunnels, RouxArt will design a colorful mosaic that will be added to the structures. In addition, JaxParks has worked to bring in the fenceline and the walking path to give a buffer to the flooding that occurs during high tide and periods of high rainfall from Hogans Creek. Just as what happened with the Sesquicentennial Mosaic, SPAR and RouxArt are offering mosaic workshops both at RouxArt Studios in May and onsite at the dog park in June. At the end, join us for PoochFest when we celebrate the project.
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. May’s will take place on Saturday, May 14th, at 9 am and will be meeting at the SPAR Building to help beautify before the Home Tour.
Kelly introduced Crissie Cudd with Florida Homes Realty and Mortgage to speak about Springfield Market Trends in our local real estate. Crissie shared the following information:
January through April there were 35 homes closed, compared to 45 this time last year. However, 35 is actually pretty typical when I looked at other years.
The difference is the number of homes on the market, nine, which is way down from previous years. Of those 1 is a condo, 2 are total rehabs, 2 are pre-construction, and two are being promoted as Air BNBs.
Another difference in the recent stats is that of the 35, 8 of the sales were bungalows. That's unusual since historically bungalows only make up about 5% of the historic mix. There were also 5 brand new homes sold and 5 more that were built since 2000. Only 1 fixer upper. And two pool homes.
Interest rates are at about 5.25-5.5% which is slowing sales in some areas but our biggest issue is inventory.
Crissie shared information regarding the Historic Marker Task Force. Sponsors of the project enjoyed a tour of both the Henry Klutho house and apartments on Sunday, May 1st. This wouldn't have been possible without the support of both the owners of the Klutho House, who graciously agreed to open up their home. Additionally, they had the unique opportunity to meet Henry Klutho's grandson, Charlie, who shared his memories. Due to the overwhelming support of the community, the historic marker in honor of Henry Klutho is fully funded and we are close to having two more, of the five, funded, as well. Lastly, the Historic Marker Task Force honored past-SPAR Executive Director, Rita Reagan, and her six-year fight to prevent the Klutho Apartments from being demolished. She was presented with an award for her phenomenal work.
Kelly urged attendees to come out to the 43rd Historic Springfield Tour of Homes and Gardens on May 14 and 15 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 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 presented the calendar of events for the Spring. Events include the Home Tour Community Clean Up on May 14, Historic Springfield Home & Garden Tour on May 14 and 15, Bike Social to Eastside Murals & Jumbo Shrimp Game on May 22 (buy your tickets through SPAR!), Music on Main featuring Crescendo Amelia Big Band on May 25. Events can always be found on our calendar of events at sparcouncil.org.
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 introduced Sheree Schussman, of Hyperion Brewing Company, who shared how proud she is to see the forward motion of Historic Springfield compared to when Hyperion originally opened. Sheree shared that the original ownership of Hyperion has been consolidated and that the Schussman’s are now the sole owners of the brewery making it a family-owned operation. She shared all of the great plans in the works for the 5th anniversary, please follow Hyperion on social media for all of the information.
Kelly introduced John, one of the new Westside coaches, who discussed the practices and logistics for the 4th of July Throwback Baseball Game. Practice starts Saturday, May 7, at 8 a.m. and will continue to be held Saturdays at 8 a.m. and Wednesdays at 6 p.m. until game day. Practices typically last for about 90 minutes at Klutho Park and include batting and fielding practice. Bats, gloves, and balls are provided. The July 4th game is open to everyone who is interested — women and men. The only requirements to play are you must be a Historic Springfield resident/own Historic Springfield property, be at least 18 years of age, and attend at least four practices. If you are interested in playing and would like more information, please send an email to [email protected] (Westside Giants) or [email protected] (Eastside Reds).
Kelly introduced Debbie Thompson who shared that the SIAA Holiday Home Tour is coming back this holiday season. SIAA is looking for volunteers for their Home Tour committee, as well as volunteers during the event.
Kelly thanked all for attending the meeting.
The meeting was adjourned at 7:30 pm.