SPAR Timeline

2018 - SPAR hires Kelly Rich as the organization's new Executive Director. Rich hails from Shreveport, Louisiana where she founded a local preservation organization and served as director as a popular community music festival. Jacksonville PorchFest draws over 10,000 people to the neighborhood, making it the single most successful event in the history of the neighborhood. The Tour of Homes draws over 1200 guests, making it the most successful Tour to date. SPAR purchases sculptures from Sculpture Walk Springfield which will now be permanent pieces of public art for the community. 

2017 - SPAR commissions landmark mural at the intersection of 1st & Main Streets. Along with Sculpture Jacksonville and the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs, SPAR spearheads a large, semi-permanent public art display in Klutho Park called Sculpture Walk Springfield. Working with City Council, City of Jacksonville and JEA, SPAR successfully advocates for street, sidewalk, mass transit, and water well infrastructure improvements. Jacksonville PorchFest, the Tour of Homes and Throwback Baseball Game all continue to draw larger each year. SPAR introduces Second Sundays in Springfield, a regular event with live music, vendors and activities in Klutho Park - its a huge success drawing thousands through the year. SPAR, through it's business association brand, SAMBA, begins a commercial facade matching grant program to incentive business owners improving their storefronts. SPAR is nominated for a LISC Jacksonville award for its service to the community.

2016 - SPAR participates in the Florida Main Street Program, thanks to grant from the Community Foundation, and begins an effort to bring the program to Springfield. SPAR works with community partners to bring street lamp banners back to the commercial corridors of the neighborhood. SPAR receives grant from LISC Jacksonville to add staff, through Americorps. The 38th annual Historic Springfield Tour of Homes and the 3rd annual Jacksonville Porchfest, two of the organization's signature events, draw over 10,000 people - the most ever. A partnership between FSCJ and SPAR is established to help document the condition and history of properties in the area. SPAR rallies the community to support zoning changes on Main Street, which leads to a variety of new businesses opening.

2015 - SPAR founds Jacksonville PorchFest, the regions premier community music festival in the Fall, with over 5000 in attendance the first year. Over 1000 guests attend the annual Historic Springfield Tour of Homes, making it the most successful year for events in about a decade. After four years without, SPAR names a new Executive Director to work for the organization and community. The organization is honored at the Mayor's Environmental Luncheon with an award for Best Civic Organization, due to tree planting efforts in the neighborhood. 

2014 - Groundwork Jacksonville, a National Parks Service program, officially launches with SPAR support. The first annual Jacksonville PorchFest is hosted by SPAR, drawing 4000+ visitors to the community, an overwhelming success. By partnering with LISC, Operation New Hope, and Wells Fargo, SPAR facilitates the creation of $10,000 worth of artistic bicycle racks and street lamp banners.

2013 - SPAR collaborates with the City of Jacksonville and other organizations to win a National Park Service grant to begin the restoration process of the Hogans Creek park system. Springfield is highlighted by This Old House Magazine as one of the "Best Old House Neighborhoods" in the South.

2012 - The Springfield Area Merchants and Business Association (SAMBA) becomes an affiliate of SPAR, creating a formal collaborative partnership. SPAR partners with First Baptist Church and Transform Jax to receive tens of thousands of dollars worth of upgrades to our office building, via Green Grant and donated renovations.

2011 - SPAR transitions to a 100% volunteer-driven organization.

2010 – The Hogan’s Creek Greenway Master Plan is created as a result of SPAR’s direct involvement. SPAR held ongoing meetings with federal, state, and civic authorities to spearhead the revitalization of the historic Hogans Creek, which runs through Springfield and borders Jacksonville’s downtown. Florida Trend Magazine highlights Springfield as having "A Life of It's Own" even in a down housing market. SPAR partners with small business to create regular bicycle tours of the neighborhood.
2009 – Springfield named the #1 Comeback Neighborhood in the South by Southern Living Magazine. SPAR hosted the Neighborhood Summit to showcase Main Street reopening and developments expected to follow.

2008 – The MetroEdge Study was conducted and presented. SPAR received three awards from the Jacksonville Historic Preservation Commission: Heritage Education/Publication category – Restore Jacksonville Conference (in partnership with Riverside-Avondale Preservation); Historic Landscape Category – Restoration of the Historic Confederate Park Rose Arbor; Preservation Service category – Springfield Alley Task Force. SPAR began a commercial revitalization program which resulted in Main Street business façade improvements, creation of marketing materials, and resource library.
2007 – SPAR was 1 of 5 selected for Retail Recruitment training. SPAR was also recognized by the Historic Preservation Commission and received an award for Historical Education/Publication for the Springfield Heritage Days.
2006 – Good Morning America features Springfield as one of the top neighborhoods in the nation to invest. SPAR forms a Commercial Development Committee to focus on revitalization of commercial areas. The Ulrich Study was conducted with private donor funds.
2005 – SPAR received a Mayor’s Award for Neighborhood Organizations for its efforts to restore history and glory of Springfield. The Mayor’s Award was also a result of SPAR’s partnership with the Sheriff’s Office which led to a 65% reduction in crime in the neighborhood over a three year period.
2004 – SPAR was recognized at the 2004 Florida Neighborhoods Conference for its work to preserve the history and legacy of Springfield.
2002 – SPAR and HSCC merged to become Springfield Preservation and Revitalization (SPAR) Council.
2000 – Working with City Council, SPAR was able to get Springfield Overlay Ordinance passed, which ensured that illegal or unwanted businesses could not open within that designation geographic location.
1999 – SPAR began providing a meeting place and coordination assistance for the Springfield Revitalization Roundtable and conducted educational tours for schools and other groups.
1998 – SPAR served as a central information and welcoming location for the city’s Springfield auction.
1994 – SPAR accepted a badly vandalized Main Street commercial building (1321 North Main) and with city funds and donations, renovated it to become SPAR’s office and historic museum, Springfield Heritage Center.
1993 – SPAR convened a Commercial Revitalization Task Force to spearhead the Main Street Project, spurring business and job development in the community.
1989 – SPAR and the National Historic Trust received a grant to develop a five-year neighborhood revitalization strategy.
1987 – Springfield was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
1986 – Historic Springfield Community Council (HSCC) was formed.
1985 – SPAR co-sponsored a Regional Urban Design Assistance Team study. 
1984 – SPAR members completed the architectural survey of all properties which concluded, “Springfield contains one of the highest concentrations of significant early 20th century architecture in the state.”  Properties were catalogued, pictures taken and application for designation as a National Historic District submitted.
1978 – First Spar Historic Home Tour was held.
1977 – SPAR incorporated as a non-profit organization.
1976 – SPAR led the development of the Springfield Neighborhood Action Plan, a comprehensive rezoning of the district enacted by the City Council.
1974 – Springfield Preservation and Restoration (SPAR) was formed.