Community Meeting September 2020

Date: 9/3/2020

Location: Sesquicentennial Park (1527 N. Main Street)

Time: 5:30 p.m.

Kelly Rich, SPAR Executive Director, welcomed the approximate 45 guests to the meeting. She announced the cancellation of Jacksonville PorchFest 2020 and offered thanks to the local community for their continued support throughout the pandemic. Kelly announced, in lieu of the event, that SPAR is selling a t-shirt to commemorate “The PorchFest That Never Was” with funds raised going towards next year’s festival. 

Kelly Rich 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 to work with a local construction company - Auld and White. SPAR is currently working with the City of Jacksonville on the permits with construction starting within 30 days. The goal is to have SPAR building open and operational by early December of 2020. Kelly went on to describe the space, including two office spaces and a full conference room for use by the Board, as well as other Springfield organizations for meetings and events.

Tim Hope introduced the fundraising goals behind the Building for the Future, capital fundraising campaign, to the community. This campaign will focus on raising funds for building renovations and improvements. With a goal of $500,000, SPAR has raised $121,000 thus far. A friend of Springfield has generously offered to challenge the Springfield Community to help raise $50,000 for the month of September. Every private donation (up to $1,000) will be matched if the donor is a member of SPAR. If the donor isn’t and they decide to join, the donor’s SPAR membership will be matched, too. 

Kelly Rich discussed the small business support offered to our Springfield businesses during the months of COVID-19 restrictions. First Responder Appreciation Days were hosted at Social Grounds Coffee and The Sweet Spot and Urban Lounge with each business offering free coffee or cookies, respectively. Throughout the month of May, ‘Shop Springfield’ gift bags, supporting five different small businesses in Springfield were sold on the SPAR Web Store, as well as celebrating local Black-owned businesses part of our business association with a blog post highlighting their contribution to the neighborhood. 

Kelly promoted the SPAR Boost Gift Card Campaign, which was a way for SPAR to help our small business owners who are the cornerstone of our community. Neighbors could purchase a $20 gift card to be SPAR boosted to $30 or a $50 gift card to be SPAR boosted to $75 from eleven participating businesses. This initiative, alone, invested $7500 into our local economy. 

Kelly offered congratulations to small businesses that opened in 2020, including Springfield Scoops, JAXCode, Crab God, Icecapade Frozen Treats, The Sweet Spot & Urban Lounge. Reddi-Arts has a tentative date to open in Winter of 2020 and Hyperion Brewing Company has recently added a Chef’s Corner. 

Kelly Rich discussed ongoing city-level and state-level projects continuing in Springfield. Residential traffic calming measures and reduction of speed limits are a continuing conversation with the City of Jacksonville. Public Works are aware of the drainage issues along 7th and Silver Streets with a project to fix them coming in the future. JEA will be adding historic lighting poles from State Street to 1st Street. Discussions with FDOT continue for parking and road improvements along Main Street. 

Kelly Rich gave an update about neighborhood parks. In partnership with Jacksonville Public Library and Jax Parks, the City’s first StoryWalk installation is located in Klutho Park. This will be the first of 5 StoryWalks installed throughout the city in coming years. SPAR has received designs from local artists to paint murals on the electric sheds throughout Klutho Park. The Springfield Park Dog Park will be seeing updates to address amenities and flooding, and the Schell Park playground will boast a completed playground in Spring of 2021.   

Kelly Rich shared that while PorchFest 2020 may not be happening; smaller socially distanced events will continue throughout the Fall and Winter. Music on Main is scheduled for the last Wednesday of September and October, a Holiday Market is scheduled in December, as well as two Bike Socials - one on October 10th to Evergreen Cemetery and the Holiday Bike Ride and Parade on December 15th. Kelly informed that riders of all ages are welcome and how important it is to show how easy it is to get from Springfield to various destinations around the Urban Core. 

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 Springfield. Along with membership, #SPARPerks will be continuing into 2021.

Kelly thanked attendees for joining the meeting and introduced Spade McQuade as the evening’s entertainment.

Meeting adjourned at 6:45 p.m. 

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