By Cindy Jackson
May 25, 2021
“ . . . the County itself is expected to grow from around 82,000 now to close to 150,000 in 2045, according to Florida Bureau of Economic and Business Research.”
If you live on Amelia Island you might wonder what’s happening across the Shave Bridge now that SR 200 has been completed.
Quite a bit is the simple answer.
And it’s not just about new franchises, food eateries, apartment complexes or health care facilities.
The Department of Planning and Economic Opportunity has been studying growth patterns for years and has positioned itself appropriately, well-armed with an extensive master plan – the Nassau County Comprehensive Plan 2010-2030 – and “an array of documentation assessments, stakeholder outreach, and iterative planning efforts.”
On the agenda of the meeting of the Board of County Commissioners on May 24, 2021, was an item to approve the conceptual design plan for the Westside Regional Park. It was unanimously approved.
The “Westside” of the County can be defined as everything west of I-95. According to Thad Crow, Director of Planning and Economic Opportunity, “Approximately 30,000 people live in this area, which comprises 80% of the County geographically.”
About county growth, Crowe went on to explain in a follow-up email that “the County itself is expected to grow from around 82,000 now to close to 150,000 in 2045, according to Florida Bureau of Economic and Business Research.
Those additional 68,000 people equate to around 27,000 new homes, and the areas east of I-95 are filling up, so western Nassau will start feeling growth pressure from the southwest, up from Jacksonville, in around 10 years in my estimation. We are already getting a lot of interest in the Crawford Diamond Industrial Park and in industrial properties in the far southwest of the County.”
The Westside Regional Park will be located on a 107.65-acre parcel that the County purchased in 2007, recognizing that additional parks and recreation were needed to provide for the county’s ever-growing population. Centrally located in the western portion of Nassau County, among other things, the park will contain:
- 3 multi-use fields
- 3 sports/flex fields
- a nature center
- fishing lake with dock access
- lakeside trails and paved multi-use trails throughout
- dog park and dog wash station
- an outdoor fitness facility
- an airnasium (with flexible covered space and one basketball court)
- an amphitheater
- a playground
and so much more.
The anticipated cost of the entire project, the concept of which is named Lakeside Loop, is $26.5 million. The budget for Phase I is approximately $4.4 million.
Design and construction of the park will be accomplished through a combination of general revenue and impact fee dollars and according to a report provided to the Board of County Commissioners, $2.7 million will come from FY19-20 and $1.7 million from impact fees allocated for FY20-21. The ongoing cost of annual operations and maintenance is estimated to be approximately 7-11% of the initial capital investment.
The firm of Prosser Consulting, Inc. was responsible for the development of the Westside County Regional Park plan, a copy of which can be obtained by contacting the County at (904) 530-6010
At press time, there has been no word yet on when groundbreaking is expected to take place.