Introducing Michael Haskins, SPAR Executive Director

Michael Haskins, an experienced non-profit leader 
to head Springfield Preservation and Revitalization Council (SPAR)


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – (March 31, 2023) — Springfield Preservation and Revitalization Council (SPAR) has hired Michael Haskins as the organization’s new executive director, effective April 3rd. Haskins comes to SPAR with more than 10 years of experience as an education and non-profit leader.

"Michael not only brings valuable leadership experience to the organization, but also a fresh perspective," said Kelly Lezama, President of SPAR board of directors. "Springfield has grown tremendously over the last decade, with even greater potential in the years to come. Michael will help us navigate the journey in a thoughtful and inclusive way, both as an organization and as a community."

Haskins will lead SPAR’s activities and efforts making Historic Springfield a preferred place in which to live and do business. He will lead programs that drive the preservation, revitalization and balanced growth of the community.

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Shop Springfield: 2022 Holiday Gift Guide

The holidays are fast approaching, and we all have to-do lists a mile long. Are you searching for ideas for gifts for your loved ones? Are you eager to avoid running all over town in search of the perfect present? Solve both problems by shopping Springfield! Our local businesses have a great selection of gifts for those you love, and all within our own neighborhood. Keep reading for some lovely gift ideas, all for under $50, that your friends and family will be delighted to receive!

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Meet the 2022 Candidates for our Board of Directors

Let us introduce you to our 2022 Candidates for the SPAR Board of Directors! The Board of Directors are presenting Daniel Ashworth Jr., Alison Blitch, Katie Derringer, Kimberly Green, and Tyler Grant as new candidates who would bring valuable skills, passion, and knowledge to our organization. 

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 before December 7th to [email protected] and the candidates will provide their answers at the Annual Meeting.

SPAR members will be able to vote on candidates at our Annual Meeting on Wednesday, December 7th at the Wells Fargo. Doors open at 5:30 pm. Aside from voting, SPAR members will receive updates about on-going projects and efforts in the community. 



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SPAR Announces Departure of Executive Director Kelly Rich

Kelly Rich, Executive Director of Springfield Preservation and Revitalization (SPAR) Council, announced that she will be stepping down from her position effective Nov 25, 2022.


Rich has served in this capacity since 2018, acting as a diligent advocate for the Springfield Historic District and advancing the mission of the organization. The community and SPAR are extremely grateful for her contributions and look forward to building on the many successes of her tenure moving forward.


"My time with SPAR has been more fulfilling than I ever could have imagined. The staff, board of directors, donors, members, and volunteers have all been such enthusiastic supporters. I hope my leadership has been as impactful to the community as the community has been to me"

 - Kelly Rich, SPAR Executive Director 


During Rich's five year tenure with SPAR:


> Membership grew over 300%.

> Popular activities like Explore the Core and Music on Main were introduced, continuing the organization’s commitment to free, accessible community programming.

> Over 20 new small businesses opened in Springfield, with SPAR awarding over $35k in grants to assist with facade improvements and pandemic impacts.

> A $500k capital campaign to restore SPAR's Main Street office was successfully completed.

> SPAR celebrated Springfield’s 150th anniversary by transforming a highly visible vacant lot into a popular community greenspace, Sesquicentennial Park.

> Jacksonville PorchFest grew to over 20K attendees; named Best Festival in Jacksonville.

> SPAR received awards from LISC Jacksonville, Jacksonville Business Journal, WJXT News4Jax and City of Jacksonville.

> Rich was honored as a 2022 Women of Influence by the Jacksonville Business Journal.


"Kelly brought a fresh perspective with unique ideas that helped SPAR grow its community programming, business districts, and our signature event - Jacksonville PorchFest. Over the past five years, she's not only been a valued colleague, she's become family. I'm excited for her next chapter, and I am confident the future of Historic Springfield will be great because of the mark she left on it." - Tim Hope, SPAR President 


Rich will be moving to Fayetteville, Arkansas, in her new role as Director of Downtown Initiatives for Experience Fayetteville.


SPAR will conduct a search for an Executive Director, with more information about that opportunity to be shared soon.


Media inquiries: 904.353.7727 - [email protected] 


SPAR Announces the Return of UF Health Week in Springfield

Springfield Preservation and Revitalization, or SPAR, is excited to announce that Historic Springfield has been chosen as the host site for UF Health Week May 9-13 for the second year. While much of the public honors health care workers daily, UF Health hosts a special celebration annually, which coincides with National Hospital Week. UF Health is one of the city’s largest employers, and SPAR aims to introduce employees to the unique businesses in the Springfield Historic District. 

To show appreciation for UF Health’s role in the community, 15 local businesses have partnered with SPAR to offer discounts and incentives to UF Health employees. This is a prime example of the unique opportunities that SPAR looks for to promote Historic Springfield’s commercial corridors. Local business owners feel that UF Health employees who experience the personality of the neighborhood will become regular customers. Seeing more UF Health badges on Main Street and throughout the neighborhood will become an everyday experience. 

“This is another great way to recognize the efforts of everyone at UF Health, and the fact that it’s being spearheaded bySpringfield Preservation and Revitalization and local businesses makes it even more special,” said Russ Armistead, CEO of UF Health Jacksonville. “We’re proud to be a key part of this community and our employees look forward to this opportunity in downtown Springfield.”

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Now Hiring - SPAR Events & Programming Manager

Events & Programming Manager



Roles & Responsibilities: The Events and Programming Manager oversees the logistics and promotion of SPAR’s events and programming. This position also supports the marketing on special initiatives and projects, and provides support to sponsors, partners and stakeholders. This position requires strong project management skills from research and planning to execution and measurement. A flexible schedule is necessary to attend the majority of events. 

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Celebrate Our Local Black-Owned Businesses & Organizations

Being a part of a community means supporting the community - and not just on social media. Have you been asking yourself the question of how you can best support our diverse community right here in Historic Springfield? An actionable way to support is to shop at Black-owned businesses. Not just today, but every day. Redirecting our economic resources is one important step towards achieving racial equity not just in our neighborhood, but our city. 

Let’s make a conscious effort, as neighbors, to spend our money at the diverse shops and businesses who chose to make Historic Springfield their home. We gathered a list of Black-owned brands from our Springfield Merchants and Business Association (SAMBA) membership. From retail and beauty to fitness and food, Springfield has plenty of choices when looking to shop small and support our diverse commercial corridors. 


Restaurants/Food Trucks/Desserts

1 Foxy Lady Cafe and Catering

Crabgod LLC 

Junkanoo Shack, LLC

Kenya's Kakery

Icecapade Frozen Treats

Main Street Food Park

Nola's Snoballs Sweets & Savory Eats

Silkie's Chicken and Champagne Bar 

Springfield Nutrition

Springfield Scoops

Tha SoulFood Smagicians

The Cookbook Restaurant

The Sweet Spot & Urban Lounge



Belle Epoque Realty

Dare to Hire Different

Explore JAX Core

Grace and Truth CDC

Liberty Security

Make Up Craze Beauty

Pamela Batts-Brown, Realtor

Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. - Theta Phi Chapter

Rachelle Miller, Realtor

RE/MAX Supreme

The Kickbox



Simply Ke’say Boutique

Sweet Christi’s

We know there are so many other great Black-owned businesses in Historic Springfield, including AMillion Strands, Auntie Peaches, Avela Day Spa, Classic Maven, Big House of Glass, Sly Jones Fashion, Ysyntricity, and more. Who else could we add?

Explore the Core: Introducing New Route & Partnership With Art Bikes Jax

Springfield Preservation and Revitalization (SPAR) is excited to share news about the success and growth of its Explore the Core program since the program’s inception in 2019. Inspired by the recognition of Historic Springfield as the “Most Bikeable Neighborhood in Jacksonville” and SPAR’s desire to build relationships with its other Urban Core neighbors, Explore the Core is the most tangible way to see how connected the oldest neighborhood is to the rest of Downtown Jacksonville. With a mission to promote the community’s bike-friendly reputation to the entire region, SPAR’s bike socials are free to join and include all ages and skill levels. 

In 2021, SPAR was awarded a $3000 grant from Fat Tire Amber Ale’s ‘Bike Advocacy’ grant program. Awardees across the country received grants to fund projects that promote cycling in their communities and give equal opportunity for all to access the outdoors. SPAR’s project will support the current Explore the Core program with the addition of a new route to Historic Durkeeville.

After experiencing continuous growth of participation and support throughout 2021, SPAR has partnered with Art Bikes Jax as the premier sponsor for the 2022 calendar year. Representatives from Art Bikes Jax will be joining in on Bike Socials and giving group tours in Historic Springfield highlighting local history and art. Both SPAR and Art Bikes Jax invite the Jacksonville community to join them on the first Bike Social of 2022 to trek the newly added route to Historic Durkeeville on Saturday, February 5th. If you don't have a bike to participate, don't worry! Art Bikes Jax is offering rentals of their e-bikes for just $30. Reserve yours today!


The 2022 list of Explore the Core excursions include:

  • February 5th - Historic Durkeeville
  • April 29th - Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp game
  • June 18th - Evergreen Cemetery 
  • September TBD - Historic Eastside Murals/Jacksonville Jaguars Game
  • October 28th - Historic Springfield Bike-A-Boo!
  • December 13th - Historic Springfield Annual Holiday Bicycle Ride



Meet the 2021 Candidates for our Board of Directors

Let us introduce you to our 2021 Candidates for the SPAR Board of Directors! The Board of Directors is presenting Jason Hardwick and Alejandro (AJ) Rodriguez as new candidates who would bring valuable skills, passion, and knowledge to our organization. In addition, John Shermetaro (current Treasurer of SPAR), Christine Lane, Ryan McFarland, and Bryant Shumaker are all 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 before December 6th to [email protected] and the candidates will provide their answers at the Annual Meeting.

SPAR members will be able to vote on candidates at our Annual Meeting this coming Tuesday, December 7th at Hyperion Brewing Company. Doors open at 5:30 pm. Aside from voting, SPAR members will receive updates about on-going projects and efforts in the community. 

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Holiday Festivities in Historic Springfield

Can you believe it? The 2021 Holiday Season is upon us and Historic Springfield could not be more excited. There are so many events happening in our one-square mile over the next few weeks, and here is is your one stop shop to finding them all. If you have an event that you'd like to see added to our list, please send it to [email protected]


November 26th: Music on Main: Tree Lighting and DANKA - Join SPAR Council from 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm in Sesquicentennial Park for Music on Main featuring the return of DANKA, the SPAR Holiday Market, and the Holiday Tree Lighting


December 3rd to December 30th: Holiday Light Tours with Go Tuk'n - This 1-hour tour, offered for only a few weeks a year, is a favorite for the whole family. Guests of all ages love snuggling up in the furry blankets and heated seats to see the gorgeous lights in Springfield, Downtown, Avondale, and Riverside. Each tour is unique with Go Tuk'n drivers selecting the best light displays at the time of your tour.


December 11th: Santa at Strings Sports Brewery - Bring the kids to get their photo taken with Santa at Strings Sports Brewery from 11:30 am to 1 pm!


December 11th: Springfield Ugly Sweater Bar Crawl! - Wear your favorite ugly sweater and stroll between Historic Springfield's breweries, Main & Six Brewing Company, Strings Sports Brewery, and Hyperion Brewing Company, for this holiday themed bar crawl. Participating businesses will have special beer releases, drink specials, and an ugliest sweater contest at 9 pm.  


December 14th: Historic Springfield's Annual Holiday Bicycle Ride - Meet up at Sesquicentennial Park at 5:30 pm for an leisurely evening ride through the Historic District to enjoy the lights and spectacle of the holidays. All ages are welcome and bike decorations and costumes are encouraged. 


December 17th: A Very Special Christmas Dance & Talent Show! - Dare 2 Hire Different, Dabbs Productions, and The Sweet Spot & Urban Lounge are hosting a talent show and dance that allows individuals with different abilities to be themselves. Doors open at 4 pm, the Talent Show is from 4:30 pm to 5:45 pm, and the dance will follow from 6 pm to 8 pm.


December 18th: Winter Holiday Market at Main Street Food Park - Stop by the Main Street Food Park between 12 pm and 8 pm to shop with a variety of vendors, dine with some local food trucks, visit with Santa, listen to wonderful holiday music from the John Lumpkin Institute, and enjoy a holiday movie. 


December 18th: Run Santa Run 5K - 1st Place Sports is hosting the Run Santa Run 5K taking place at Henry J. Klutho Park. Hosting both a one mile fun-run, as well as a 5K, the whole family can dress up in Santa suits and run together! This 5K is after dark so participants can enjoy the full effect of the course's illuminations, inflatables, and music. 


Remember, you don't have to wait to join in on these events. You can alway walk, bike, or drive at any time throughout the month to enjoy the decorated porches throughout the neighborhood.