Community Meeting November 2019

Date: 11/19/19

Location: Wells Fargo Community Learning Center (1601 N. Main Street)

Time: 5:30 p.m.

Tim Hope, SPAR Board President, welcomed the approximate 45 guests to the meeting. He shared a recap of PorchFest 2019 and offered thanks to SPAR Board and Staff for a successful event.

Tim presented news about the repair of the SPAR building at 1321 N. Main Street, which was damaged during Hurricane Irma two years ago. The SPAR Asset Management Committee has chosen an architect and have analyzed the first draft of drawings/blueprints. The next step will be the bidding process and search for a contractor. The soft goal is to have SPAR building open and operational by the 2020 Home Tour. Tim went through the approved blueprint, pointing out each designated space, including a full conference room for use of the Board, as well as the rest of the Springfield community.  

Tim opened the floor to questions about the project and presented the Building for the Future, capital fundraising campaign, to the community. This campaign will focus on raising funds for building renovations and improvements set to begin in the Spring of 2020.

Kelly Rich informed that the Design Review Committee is the liaison between homeowners and the Historic Preservation Committee. Homeowners can submit their plans to the Design Review Committee for help as they work through the Certificate of Appropriateness process. She announced that the Historic Preservation Workshops, started in 2019, will continue into 2020.

Kelly Rich introduced Alexander Traversa, the Jacksonville Transportation Authority’s Ultimate Urban Circulator (U2C) representative. Alexander shared that JTA is still in the planning process and conducting a system expansion study. The U2C is an important upgrade as the current Skyway vehicles are no longer in production and it’s time to transition the Skyway to a new mode. He shared the U2C Expansion Study Map, which shows where the expansion will take place across the Urban Core. The process includes many public involvement activities - participation in Community Events (for example, they were at PorchFest), conducting test track tours, seeking feedback online via surveys, public input tool, and QR codes. JTA is currently evaluating the corridor - connectivity, service ops, safety, community impact and sustainability, cost, land use, population & employment, roadway characteristics, as well as future development. JTA is making sure to explore every option in each corridor of the Urban Core. Next steps in the process include continued outreach to get public input/comments, as the U2C is contingent on federal funding. The aforementioned survey is online until the end of Dec 2019. 

Kelly Rich introduced Damien Cook, from the Office of Grant and Contract Compliance with the City of Jacksonville and the Cure Violence implementation director. This Chicago-based initiative began training in Jacksonville in April 2019 and officially launched in June 2019. Cure Violence treats violence as a public health problem by using the same health strategies used to fight infectious diseases. They look for solutions by creating a model that looks at violence as a learned behavior. Cure Violence partners with local nonprofits, who work with At-Risk persons, focusing on interrupting violent conflicts, changing behavior, and changing norms. The majority of this is done with mentors to the community - local partners (Noah’s Ark on the Eastside), violence interrupters, and outreach workers, who engage with community leaders, residents, business owners, faith leaders, social service providers, etc. The program is completely data driven with data compiled including how many conflicts were mediated, how many violent conflicts or retaliations were stopped, etc. There are currently 20 Street Team members in Jacksonville. While Cure Violence leaders may work with law enforcement, there is no partnership at the street team level to help provide trust and credibility with At-Risk persons. 

Kelly Rich gave an update from SAMBA. There has been an average of 80+ members throughout 2019 with monthly SAMBA meetings continually active and full. An Advisory Committee, made up of SAMBA members, has been created to help with disbursement of SAMBA funds and with future projects. SAMBA has launched a new Quarterly Mini-Grant Program to assist neighborhood businesses in the planning and promotion of business related events in Springfield. The first recipient of the Mini-Grant is The Sweet Spot & Urban Lounge for their Grand Opening Celebration in January 2020. SAMBA is continuing to award the Facade Matching Grants with over $15,000 given to local businesses in the past three years, including the newly opened 1748 Bakehouse. SAMBA Membership will be changing starting January 1st, 2020. The General Level will no longer be offered as a yearly tier, but as an introductory “first-year” rate for new SAMBA members. The Executive and Associate levels of SAMBA Membership will remain the same. From now until December 31st, 2019, the General Level is still available to current members. 

Kelly Rich shared information on the Sheriff’s Watch & Off Duty Officer Program, which occurs on the 4th Tuesday of each month, at 6 p.m., at the corner of E 2nd and Ionia Streets on the second floor. Approximately 15-20 people are in attendance at each Sheriff’s Watch Meeting, which is conducted in an open conversation format for safety concerns in the neighborhood. 

Tim Hope touched on the Off Duty Officer Program and its importance, especially during the summer time and holidays, as well as keeping an eye on potential “hot spots” in the neighborhood. This program is funded by community donations and you can set up a recurring or one time payment through the SPAR website.

Kelly gave an update on events happening in the neighborhood. This Saturday, November 23rd, is the Sesquicentennial Tree Lighting Celebration, presented by the Springfield Holiday Society, at 5 pm. There will be a DJ, tree decorating, and then lighting. The SIAA Holiday Tour of Homes is on December 6th and 7th and SPAR will be hosting the Bike Tour during this event.

Kelly recapped events over the past few weeks. The Sesquicentennial Mosaic was installed on the JEA Building on November 5th. The Dedication Ceremony had great turnout. Jacksonville PorchFest was a success. There were over 20 SPAR board and PF committee members, 50 Sponsors, 21 Bands, 18 Porch Hosts, 54 Vendors, 180 Volunteers, and 17,000 Attendees. Kelly shared thanks to the volunteers, PorchFest committee, porch hosts, and neighbors. She shared poignant pictures of the day.

Kelly Rich shared a new partnership for SPAR with Jax Fray, which will start with a six-week Kickball League taking place in Klutho Park starting January 26th and every Sunday after from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. This is Jax Fray’s first foray away from the beach and the goal is to hit 15 teams. There will be some festivities surrounding the Kickball League to include accompanying parties for Championship weekend and after parties at a different business each week There may also be possible pop-up volleyball and other accompaniments. 

Kelly Rich, then, gave an Explore the Core update. She reminded that riders of all ages welcome and how important it is to show how easy it is to get from Springfield to various destinations around the Urban Core. There are two Historic Springfield Bike Socials planned for December to include the Holiday Tour of Homes on December 7th and Holiday Bike Ride on December 17th. 

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. Along with membership, #SPARPerks will be continuing into 2020. There are a handful of 2019 key tags available with 2020 key tags on the way. 

Kelly shared the plans and projects in the works for 2020. These will include coordinating upgrades to the historic Springfield parks, conversations with Public Works about fixing the flooding on the West Side/Silver Street, conversations about keeping Sesquicentennial Park open, and more historic preservation workshops and bike socials. There is a tentative date of January or February to start the 4th Street brick project. Lastly, SPAR 2020 Programming is underway and will include a return of the Jacksonville Symphony for a performance at Karpeles, Shakespeare in Klutho Park, and guest speaker events. 

Kelly, then, spotlighted the SPAR Capital Campaign one more time. While SPAR has an insurance payout as well as grants to help, there is still $250,000-$300,000 to fundraise to cover the rest. There are plans for options to honor high level donors with a permanent fixture of some kind at the renovated building. Letters for the Capital Campaign are available at the SPAR Office.

Kelly thanked Hola! for the refreshments and Wells Fargo Community Learning Center for hosting the meeting.

Meeting adjourned at 7:17 p.m. 

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