SPAR Welcomes Director of Development

Jean Tanler has been settling in to her new role as Director of Development with SPAR. Please give her a warm welcome to the neighborhood when you see her.

A little about Jean:
Jean grew up in Jacksonville and recently returned home after living in New York City for many years. She worked in film and television, primarily in script research and development, before obtaining her Master’s in Urban & Regional Planning at Pratt Institute. Upon returning, she has found a renewed love for Jacksonville’s historic neighborhoods. She lives in Avondale where she is renovating her home and preparing for the first growing season of her urban farm. 

Jean is also a real estate investor, Realtor, and has seven years on non-profit management experience. Previously, she worked at the Business Outreach Center (BOC) Network, a micro-enterprise/small business development organization in New York City delivering customized business services to traditionally underserved groups, with a focus on low- and moderate-income entrepreneurs and their communities. Prior to BOC Network, she co-founded Local Labels, a retail company selling specialty foods and gifts made in NYC. Her experience also includes organizing and coordinating public involvement efforts as a Planner at Howard/Stein-Hudson Associates, the Municipal Art Society, and the Regional Plan Association and organizing events and fundraising efforts at the Neighborhood Preservation Center, a non-profit resource center for the improvement and protection of neighborhoods. She is Secretary of the Board for the Jacksonville Real Estate Investors’ Association. She loves getting her hands dirty, scouring flea markets, and travel. 

On why she is excited about this job:
“My background is in community involvement, small business development, and urban planning. I’m excited about tapping into new sources of funding and developing programming that engages the community, allowing people to connect with their neighborhood. Historic Springfield is one of the best urban neighborhoods of the South. I look forward to advocating for Springfield and expanding its reach.”

On what she loves most about Springfield:
“I feel at home in Springfield’s diverse and tight-knit community. I have fallen in love with its historic homes, moss-draped tree canopy, and open porches. The neighborhood abounds with possibility. Its walkability, parks, and mixed-uses – not to mention its wonderful and welcoming residents – have set the stage for an urban renaissance in Jacksonville and make it one of the city’s most special and appealing neighborhoods.”

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Buy Your Jaguars Tickets and Benefit SPAR

Springfield Preservation and Revitalization Council, Inc. has teamed up with the Give & Go Program for the second year in a row. In 2018, this valuable opportunity helped to raise over $500 which was allocated to SPAR's Commercial Corridor Beautification program. The 2019 beneficiary is still being determined.

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SPAR Board Accepting Applications For 2019-2020 Term

SPAR Board at the 2018 Holiday PartySPAR board members, staff, and committee members at the 2018 Holiday Party

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. 

Please review the corporation bylaws, and if you are still interested in serving on the Board after reviewing these materials, please fill out the application and return it to no later than August 1st. If you have a resume or similar document outlining your work experience and skill set, please include that as well. Note that all candidates must be current members of SPAR. You must be willing to participate in an interview and be approved by the Governance Committee and current board in order to be presented to the membership for a vote. Please feel free to contact at any time if you have any questions.

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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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