Jacksonville Council Parks Committee Discusses Safety, Maintenance

Nov 8, 2017

After two recent deaths in Jacksonville parks, the question of their safety has been brought to the forefront. That topic came up at a city council parks committee meeting Wednesday morning.

The special committee on improving Jacksonville’s more than 400 parks has been meeting since August.

Wednesday, the committee’s members brought up issues they’d like to see addressed during upcoming meetings. Councilman Reggie Brown said safety is one of his concerns.

“Better or more lights, cameras. I’m a huge proponent of cameras in parks,” Brown said. “If we don’t have law enforcement officers sitting in our parks, then cameras will be able to capture incidents that occur.”

Brown and other council members like Lori Boyer also had questions about maintenance. She said for example the time it currently takes to repair a swingset or broken lights might be months.

“We do a really good job of building a new facility and opening it up and it looks great and everyone goes to the opening and what the problem is, is what it looks like two years later,” Boyer said.

Council President Anna Brosche questioned the Parks and Rec Department about its reporting system when park-goers notice an issue. It’s director, Daryl Joseph, said he’s looking into something more web-based rather than people having to call the city with issues.

“Our signs in the park now are pretty generic as far as telephone numbers,” Joseph said. “We’re in an age now that cell phones are key. I want to see if there’s an opportunity to do URL codes, websites, apps.”

Councilman John Crescimbeni inquired about parks standardizing more of their equipment, so replacement is easier and more streamlined.

In all, about ten different issues came up. Park Committee Chair Scott Wilson said future meetings will each focus on a single topic.

Lindsey Kilbride can be reached at lkilbride@wjct.org, 904-358-6359 or on Twitter at@lindskilbride.