SPAR Committee Highlight: Block Captains

Each month we'll be highlighting a different SPAR committee you can join. Working on a committee helps SPAR and the neighborhood. It's also a good pathway to joining the board. Check out the complete committee list.

Block Captains Committee
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This committee takes an active role in improving the quality of life in our neighborhood through coordinated measures to prevent crime, reduce blight, increase neighbor activity and engagement.

Joining a committee is easy, just reach out to us and we'll connect you with the right person to help you get started. Contact us to join a SPAR committee.

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Meet the Candidates for the 2018 Board of Directors

At the September 6, 2018 annual community meeting, SPAR members will vote on candidates for our Board of Directors. There are six openings available. The current Board of Directors feel the five new candidates featured below would be valuable assets to the organization in helping lead the Springfield Historic District forward. We are proud to present them to our membership for approval. In addition, Jaimee Stewart, currently serving as Secretary of SPAR, is seeking reelection to the Board for a second and final term.

Please learn more about the candidates by reading their bios below. If you have any questions for them prior to voting at the annual meeting, please submit them prior to September 5th via email to the SPAR office at sparoffice@sparcouncil.org, and the candidates will provide their answers at the annual community meeting on September 6th. No questions will be taken from the floor. Join the community meeting event page here!

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Now Hiring! Apply for Americorps part time position with SPAR

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We're excited to announce that SPAR Council has been awarded a grant to hire an AmeriCorps member. Click here for the full job description and contact information to apply.

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September Volunteer Spotlight: Diane Graese

Diane Graese moved to Springfield from Las Vegas a little over a year ago. In a very short time, she has built a reputation as a passionate and dedicated volunteer in our community.  “I came to Jacksonville because it was a big city; I came to Springfield because a website called Neighborhood Search told me I would find all that I was looking for. I knew no one, but on my first visit here there were people who welcomed me into their homes and I felt such a good vibe,” Diane explained.  “I ignored the naysayers and listened to the stories of how the neighborhood was changing and the visions for the future.”

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August Volunteer Spotlight: Michael McCall and Josh Wilkerson

For August's Volunteer Spotlight, we interviewed Michael McCall and Josh Wilkerson

L: What kind of volunteer work have you done in Springfield? You had a lot to do with the beautiful blue Historic Springfield banners I have seen popping up on porches, right?

M&J:  All kinds!  We feel so inspired by seeing others in action and neither of us can sit still for very long.  We specifically love to volunteer during both home tours because it's a great way to meet people while showcasing our beautiful neighborhood.  Throughout the year we do random things like clean and mow both public and abandoned properties, cut back low hanging tree limbs to make our sidewalks safer while out walking our dogs, we've helped paint the bridge in Klutho Park and the eagles in Confederate Park to brighten those up, we clean and maintain flowers in the planters on the Hogan's Creek bridges, we've helped clear storm drains so they function again, we added patriotic decorations to Klutho for the baseball game, and we helped form the Holiday Society. We've just recently signed on to help coordinate the Christmas Home Tour and the annual Halloween Party, we will be working with SPAR on grant proposals that will help purchase holiday decorations for Main Street, and we are raising funds now to pay for a mural that has been designed and will be installing soon in the neighborhood.  We've also contributed to the art installation in Klutho, the off-duty police program, and Porch Fest.

The Springfield banners came about because we like to change our porch up with each season.  Usually, Michael creates a flag to hang for each season (flags using cut-out foam hearts for Valentines Day, plastic eggs for Easter, etc.) and he thought having one to mimic the sculpture of the blue Springfield ribbon would be beautiful so sought a vendor who he worked to design the banner.  Once hung, there was so much interest from others that we negotiated a deal with the vendor, placed a bulk order, and offered them up so others in Springfield could also enjoy the banner.  We felt it was another small way we could help Springfield set itself apart from other neighborhoods here in Northeast Florida.

L: Tell us a little more about the Historic Springfield Holiday Society. It is such a cool idea!:

M&J:  We were having a discussion with one neighbor about the fact there was no large Christmas tree in Klutho park and decided we would put that on our to-do list for 2018.  In a separate conversation with another neighbor about our mutual love of all things Christmas, we thought instead of us paying outright for a tree for Klutho we would start a group to include holiday loving neighbors to raise funds and really spread the holiday cheer on a much larger scale.  Since then we've worked with a wonderful and committed group of residents who have held multiple fundraisers, the largest being a Valentine's Dinner, and we were able to use the money we raised to donate a flagpole to the city. We installed the flagpole in Klutho Park and dedicated it on the Fourth of July.  Now that it's in place, we are awaiting a solar light so that the flag can be displayed properly.  The city has plans to run electricity to the pole and then at Christmas the flagpole will be converted into a 25' tall Christmas tree.  Once that box is checked, we will be working with SIAA to support the Holiday Home Tour while we continue working with the Holiday Society, SIAA, and SPAR towards the purchase of holiday decor to display on Main Street and other neighborhood improvements.   

L:  What do you love most about the neighborhood, and how long have you lived here?

M&J:  We both grew up in very small towns where you knew your neighbors by name, where your neighbors spoke to you as they passed by, and where your neighbors were your friends.  We came to Porchfest 2015 and then were invited back for a much more intimate event that December.  We both felt so welcomed and at home that we knew there was really no other choice for us but to move to Springfield. We hired a realtor on New Year's Day 2016, placed a contract on a home within weeks, moved in to Springfield in March, and have been happily situated here for just over two years. 

L: Do you have any advice for people who want to get involved, but are not sure how they can contribute?

M&J:  If a person is looking to become more formally involved, contact SPAR or SIAA.  Both are wonderful organizations that do so much to support our community and if a person loves the holidays like we do, the Holiday Society is also a great organization.  Certainly feel free to contact the two of us and we will happily connect you with opportunities!  We may be reached at HistoricSpringfieldVolunteers@gmail.com and if you don't have the time or are physically unable to participate, you can make a monetary donation.  The smallest contribution (be it time, manpower, or financial) can effect positive change in the neighborhood.

L: Can you give us an update on the banners—how can people let you know they are interested in buying one?  

M&J: We plan on placing another banner order later this summer.  Those interested in purchasing one or more banners should email HistoricSpringfieldVolunteers@gmail.com to be added to the list.

L: Okay...wild card question! Which Crispy’s pizza is your favorite? 

M&J: We love the Pearl and we add meatballs.  It's delicious!

On behalf of SPAR and your neighbors, thanks for all you do, guys! 

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Springfield Preservation and Revitalization (SPAR) Selected as AARP Community Challenge ‘Quick Action’ Grant Recipient

We are excited to announce that SPAR is one of 129 grantees who will receive funds through AARP Livable Communities’ AARP Community Challenge ‘Quick Action’ grant program. Awardees across the country will receive grants to fund innovative projects that can inspire change and make counties, cities, towns and rural areas better places to live for residents of all ages.

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July Volunteer Spotlight: Christine Lane

Volunteer of the Month: Christine Lane

Noelle Easterling sat down with Christine Lane, who was chosen by SPAR leadership for this month’s volunteer spotlight. Christine was born in Canada and was raised in Rochester, NY. She attended college at SUNY University in Buffalo, NY and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Design. She moved to Jacksonville 3 years ago and has been a resident of Springfield since April of 2017.

N: What kind of volunteering have you done in Springfield?  I know you purchased your very own trash picker-upper to pick up trash on your street and around the neighborhood, but it goes far beyond that, right?

C: I have volunteered at Main Street and Hogan’s Creek Clean ups, at Porch fest setting up tables (which was an emergency assist) and served beer at Porch Fest and Hyperion for their St. Patty’s Day Block Party.

N: What inspired you to volunteer?

C: I started volunteering so I could meet people in a fun way. I care very much about Springfield and enjoy being involved.

N: Why do you continue to volunteer?

C:I feel like for the first time, I’m living in a neighborhood where I truly belong. I love Springfield and I want other people to love Springfield too. I recently brought a co-worker to Springfield for lunch. He was apprehensive at first, but upon arriving in Springfield was so pleased and impressed with how clean it was.  I knew that this was because of the work my neighbors and I have done. I felt really proud that I made a difference in the neighborhood and my co-worker took notice.

Also, I went to school for environmental design. Typically, this is a degree one earns as an undergrad before moving on to earning a master’s in urban planning.  I am thrilled that I can apply what I learned in college to this neighborhood: taking the knowledge gained and acting on those values by volunteering, being engaged, and going to meetings in the community.  

N: What advice do you have for others who might be apprehensive to put themselves out there?

C: Find something you like to do and ask for ways you can get involved. It’s easy to volunteer…it can be as easy as picking up trash on your street or in the neighborhood. It doesn’t have to be something difficult.  

N:  What does you love most about the neighborhood?

C: One of my favorite things about Springfield is its rich diversity… it has people of every background and age. This community is very welcoming and open, and I love that.

N: Okay one more question… what has been your favorite event to volunteer at?

C: I admit that serving beer is always fun, so pouring beer at PorchFest has been the best so far. It also feels good to fundraise in support of SPAR!

Thank you to Christine and all the wonderful residents who dedicate their time and energy to making this neighborhood awesome!

 

 

 

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Proceeds from Dogs of Springfield Calendar Donated to Great Cause

A total donation of $730, facilitated by  Hannah Joy Photography via the Dogs of Springfield calendar, has been donated to Cusatti's Critters. Click on the hyperlink to see photos of the dogs under their care at their Facebook page!
Cusatti's Critters is a non-profit charity, run by JSO officers who have a long history in, and connection to, Springfield. The charity takes in old or handicapped dogs that are abandoned or surrendered. Currently, they are caring for more than 20 dogs. However, much of their shelter was damaged by Irma so they are rebuilding. This is our way of giving back and showing our support for this wonderful cause! 
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SPAR Board Now Accepting Applications


SPAR board members, staff, and committee members at a Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp game

We're happy to share that the SPAR Board of Directors is currently accepting applications for new board members. We are looking for board members who believe in our mission to preserve and revitalize Springfield and are willing to be active in their governance roles. A primary responsibility of board directors is to participate in the development of policy and major decision-making at board meetings held once a month. Another key responsibility is to be active on an ongoing basis in a committee of the board. 

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"Formed to Fit" Sculpture in Klutho Park

In collaboration with Sculpture Walk Jacksonville, SPAR, along with the help of multiple generous donors, has purchased "Formed to Fit" by Jennifer Rubin Gary, to be erected in Klutho Park...permanently!

A partnership between Sculpture Walk Jax, the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs and SPAR afforded the opportunity for ten large scale sculptures to be displayed in Henry J. Klutho Park. They were erected just in time for Porchfest 2017, and will be there until fall 2019. You can read more about this here:  https://www.sparcouncil.org/sculpture_walk_springfield_updateWant to support the cause? Find out more about (and donate to) Sculpture Walk Jacksonville here: www.sculpturewalkjax.com

Photo by Amanda Luiso

Photo by Amanda Luiso

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