Meet the Board: Soner Acar

If you see a guy flying a drone, or zipping through the streets of Springfield on a motorized skateboard — which around Christmastime was transformed into Santa’s sleigh — you’re looking at the one and only Soner Acar. But when he’s not up to his usual antics, he’s serious about bettering Springfield as a SPAR board member.

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Visit Springfield: Where to Shop in Springfield


Springfield has seen a steady influx of small retail shops popping up over the last few years. For quirky, colorful women’s clothing in the style of the 40s and 50s, check out Best Dressed Dame on Main Street. The Classic Maven caters to full-figured women with a variety of styles. Ysyntricity is a women’s apparel boutique featuring the latest in trendy fashions from sizes slim to curvy. Simply Ke’say Boutique specializes in the latest fashions for elegant, classy, and sophisticated women. If skateboarding is more your speed, head to The Block Skate Supply which boasts the coolest footwear, apparel, and hardgoods from both local and global brands. Located a few doors down, Bobby K Boutique carries a variety of basics for both men and women including button-up shirts, cotton dresses and graphic tees, with some home decor and gift items sprinkled in. Looking for a special treat for your furry friend? Bark on Park offers all sorts of goodies including dog collars, chew toys, pet carriers, and grooming products. They also provide grooming, boarding, and training services! For all your natural and organic apothecary need, Auntie Peaches will delight your senses with a wide variety of herbs and spices, coffee and tea, candles and essential oils, as well as bath products and home goods.

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SPAR Welcomes New Community Coordinator

This week, we are welcoming a new community coordinator to the SPAR team. Mandie Marron will be a new friendly face in the SPAR office, so feel free to stop by and say hello!
A little about Mandie:
Born in Danbury, Connecticut, Mandie left home shortly after she graduated high school and enlisted in the United States Navy. As an Aviation Electrician's Mate, she worked on S-3B Viking aircraft while stationed with VS-31 at NAS Jacksonville, and with the Security Department at NAS Sigonella, Sicily. After being honorably discharged in 2011 and returning to Jacksonville, Mandie attended Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, where she graduated with a Bachelor's of Science in Aeronautics. 

With a love grown in the military of giving back to the world around her, Mandie has consistently volunteered her time to a myriad of organizations over the past eleven years. While stationed in Sicily, she planned and promoted events to promote diversity in the military for the NAS Sigonella Heritage Committee and served as the Events Coordinator for the NAS Sigonella Animal Welfare Society from which she adopted her 14 year old Sicilian mutt, Fozzie Bear. As a community champion for our city, Mandie has been an intern with One Spark, repeat Science Fair Judge, docent for the Anne Frank exhibit at MOSH, and featured as a Veteran voice during the fight for the HRO by the Jacksonville Coalition for Equality. One of her proudest moments was to help the NAS Jacksonville Multicultural Awareness Committee coordinate the first ever LGBT Pride Month Celebration held onboard NAS Jacksonville in June of 2015.

Currently, Mandie works with the Marketing Team and in the Taproom at Intuition Ale Works. She is a steadfast volunteer and leader of seven years for the Extra Life Jacksonville Guild (an initiative of the Children's Miracle Network), a Board Member with The Elements of MOSH, and a referee for the FIRST Tech Challenge Robotics League with Renaissance Jax. Mandie loves reading, video games, craft beer, spending time with friends, and exploring new places. 
On why she is excited about the job:
I'm excited to work as your Community Coordinator because I have just fallen head over heels with Springfield the more and more that I spend time here. I look forward to working in a place where every day is different, where I can affect change in a positive way, and where I can help build on the momentum that's already gaining strength. Not to mention, getting to hang in one of the coolest neighborhoods in town!

On what she loves most about Springfield:
As a born and bred Connecticut Yankee, Springfield is the part of Jacksonville that reminds me most of home. I love that small town feeling that I get every time that I drive through the neighborhood and how welcome I feel anytime I visit. Here's hoping for a move up here in my future. 
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Springfield Tree Planting Project

The City of Jacksonville has awarded the SPAR tree planting project to Liberty Tree, with 134 trees being planted in the Springfield area! The City expects the first trees to start being planted in the next 2 weeks.  All trees going in on this project can be seen here.  The City will flag every location where a tree will be planted a couple of days ahead of time as well as leave door-hangers.  

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Looking back at 2018: Staff Growth

We’re counting down to 2019 and Springfield’s Sesquicentennial by looking back at 2018 and giving thanks. Join us in celebrating this past year!

We did a lot of growing as an organization in 2018 – SPAR now has two full-time employees, Executive Director Kelly Rich and Development Director Heather Benfield; as well as our AmeriCorps intern, Victoria Baron. We are looking forward to the programming and projects they have in store for 2019!

We’d also like to give thanks to former Community Engagement Coordinator Kevin O’Halloran and former AmeriCorps intern Nehemiah Samuel for all their hard work for SPAR this past year. We are also grateful for Jax PorchFest co-chair Tiare Bugarin for her dedication to our biggest event of the year! And very special thanks to Julie Michael, our bookkeeper, for being a crucial part to the team!

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Looking back at 2018: Neighborhood Events

We’re counting down to 2019 and Springfield’s Sesquicentennial by looking back at 2018 and giving thanks. Join us in celebrating this past year! 

It just wouldn’t be Springfield without fantastic events! St. Patrick’s Day on Main Street and Oktoberfest on Main Street saw the streets shut down and thousands of people in the neighborhood. 2018 also saw the development of North Pearl’s First Friday events; a monthly collaboration of music, arts, culture, shopping, great food, and more! Our friends at Springfield Improvement Association and Archives - SIAA held another beautiful Holiday Home Tour in December, which included the installation of wreaths on Main Street. The Springfield Families Group hosted holiday movies in the park in December as well.

Want to stay connected with everything happening in Springfield? Visit the Historic Springfield Community Calendar, where area organizations share their events:

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Looking back at 2018: Neighborhood Organizations

We’re counting down to 2019 and Springfield’s Sesquicentennial by looking back at 2018 and giving thanks. Join us in celebrating this past year!

Today we’d like to give thanks to our fellow urban core neighborhood organizations. We are looking forward to growing our relationships with these groups and working together on mutually beneficial projects and events.

This year we were honored to be a part of the Museum of Science & History, Jacksonville Neighborhoods (open through May, 15, 2019) signature exhibition that marks the 50th anniversary of Jacksonville consolidation, focusing on the development and sustainability of Jacksonville’s many neighborhoods – urban, suburban, and rural.

SPAR staff also hosted tables at a CLIMB event on the Eastside and at two FSCJ volunteer fairs this year.

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2018 Springfield Tour of Homes

We’re counting down to 2019 and Springfield’s Sesquicentennial by looking back at 2018 and giving thanks. Join us in celebrating this past year!

The annual Springfield Tour of Homes takes place over two days each May and showcases the unique character of the community. This past year was the 40th year of this annual event, and we were thrilled to have five beautifully renovated century-old residences styled with a mix of vintage and modern décor, two innovative new construction homes built to reflect historic architecture, and one gorgeous commercial-to-residential loft renovation.

Special thanks to the over 100 volunteers, 8 sets of trusting homeowners, and dozens of generous sponsors who helped us with the Home Tour this year!

Mark your calendars for the Historic Springfield Tour of Homes 2019!

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2018 Throwback Baseball Game

We’re counting down to 2019 and Springfield’s Sesquicentennial by looking back at 2018 and giving thanks. Join us in celebrating this past year!

Another beloved Springfield tradition is the annual July 4th Throwback Baseball Game. The Westside and Eastside (of the Springfield Historic District) battle it out on the baseball field for bragging rights, complete with turn-of-the-century old school uniforms and equipment.

This family-friendly, free event draws hundreds to Klutho Park; and is a great way to spend time with your neighbors and friends on Independence Day.

We look forward to celebrating again with you in 2019 – which side is going to take the trophy?

(Photos: Thomas Love)

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Thank You 2018 Grant Partners!

We’re counting down to 2019 and Springfield’s Sesquicentennial by looking back at 2018 and giving thanks. Join us in celebrating this past year!

Today we’d like to give thanks to our grant partners for this past year; LISC Jacksonville, Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville, Wells Fargo, AARP, National Endowment for the Humanities and NEA Irma Hurricane Relief Project Subgrant. Thanks to their support, our organization can produce quality programming that reflects the inclusive mission of our organization.

We’d also like to recognize the work of the board, staff, and volunteers this past year; which led to several awards for the organization. In May, the SPAR Commercial Corridor Committee was awarded a Historic Preservation Award from the City of Jacksonville and the Jacksonville Historic Preservation Commission for the commercial corridor façade grant program, which has helped revitalize commercial areas of the Springfield Historic District. (Learn more about this program here: In April, SPAR received the Neighbors Get Moving award from the City of Jacksonville for it’s role in organizing and promoting wellness activities. SPAR was also honored for work supporting the commercial revitalization at the 2018 LISC Community Development Awards in February.

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