Simmons Road Proposed Small Park Public Meetings

City of Fernandina Beach
Parks & Recreation Department
Press Release
Submitted by Mary Hamburg
March 19, 2018 12:00 p.m.

The City of Fernandina Beach Comprehensive Plan Goal 6.04.08 stipulates “Neighborhood-serving parks shall be prioritized for placement in areas underserved by recreation facilities and shall be prioritized in capital improvement planning. Adding additional neighborhood-serving park components to existing facilities shall be secondary after underserved recreational areas are addressed.”

Within the City of Fernandina Beach, there are approximately twelve parks on the north side of the City and only one on the south side.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Land and Water Conservation Fund (FDEP LWCF) program is now accepting grant applications with a deadline of March 26, 2018, for land and parks-related projects to be implemented over a three-year timeframe.

On March 20, 2018, at its regularly-scheduled meeting commencing at 6:00 PM, the Fernandina Beach City Commission will vote on whether to apply for $200,000 from the FDEP LWCF program to help fund the construction of a small park to be located on the south side of the City. The proposed park consists of a small playground, picnic area, restroom, water fountain, nature trail, and parking surface to be constructed within an approximately six and one-half acre parcel located at 1650 Simmons Road, Fernandina Beach, Fl.

In addition to providing a needed play and picnic area on the south side of the City, the proposed park will provide a rest and water station for bicyclists traveling on the adjacent “Sea to River Trail,” scheduled for completion by Nassau County by March 2019. Should the City be successful in receiving a FDEP LWCF grant for the playground, Florida’s Land Conservation rules will require the City to commit the six and one-half acre parcel within which the park is located as conservation land in perpetuity.

In addition to the City Commission meeting on March 20, 2018, during which the grant application will be discussed, the City of Fernandina Beach is hosting a community meeting on Thursday, March 22, from 1:30 to 2:30 PM to provide an additional opportunity for City residents to provide input regarding the proposed south side park. Both meetings will be held in the City Hall Commission Chambers, located at 204 Ash Street, Fernandina Beach, Florida.

One factor that the Florida Department of Environmental Protection considers when awarding City FDEP LWCF grant funds is the degree to which there is demonstrated community support for the proposed recreation project.

The City of Fernandina Beach invites residents to attend one or both meetings to share opinions regarding this grant-funded opportunity to bring additional recreational amenities to the south side of the City.

For more information or to submit written comment about the proposed park, please contact City of Fernandina Beach Parks and Recreation Director Nan S. Voit at (904) 310-3350 or by e-mail at [email protected].

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Peggy Bulger
Peggy Bulger(@peggy-bulger1949gmail-com)
6 years ago

I think the idea to create a park on Simmons Road is excellent! I live in the Egan’s Bluff subdivision that would abut the eastern border of the proposed park and I know that many of my neighbors are also supportive. However, our annual Egan’s Bluff Home Owners Association meeting will be held at 7 pm on Tuesday, March 20th. Unfortunately, that is in conflict with the scheduled City Council meeting. I hope to follow up with a letter of support — as one who would definitely use the park.

Vanneza Rivera
Vanneza Rivera(@vannezastubbs)
6 years ago

Invest in signage on the local flora and fauna for education purposes. Discourage driving to the park with no parking/limited parking and encourage pedestrian and bicyclist use by creating a sidewalk all the way down simmons. Provide a public bus stop near by. It’s time to stop building parking lots and start thinking about how to keep cars off the road by improving pedestrian traffic for recreational purposes.

Peggy Bulger
Peggy Bulger(@peggy-bulger1949gmail-com)
6 years ago
Reply to  Vanneza Rivera

I agree Vanneza!
Also, I’ve been told by FB City Staff that the park would retain most of the trees to shelter and shade the playground and biking paths. The parking lot will only hold 8 cars . . . . so bikers and walkers are the primary target users. I know that many are concerned (for good reason) about the loss of our trees on Amelia Island . . . there needs to be coordination with the Amelia Tree Conservancy to be sure that promises about retaining trees are kept.