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Summer Recreation Initiative Aimed At Keeping Kids Active In High-Crime Areas

Cyd Hoskinson

A special urban parks initiative kicks off in a few weeks that’s designed to make summer not just fun but safe for city kids, especially those who live in Jacksonville’s high-crime neighborhoods.Rec 'N Roll Jax is a public-private partnership between the city and Jacksonville attorney Steve Pajcic, who donated $50,000 to fund the pilot program.

Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown says the idea is to get kids off the couch and outside with their friends.   
“We’re gonna be in 11 parks and we’re going to have retired coaches and current coaches supervising the parks, working with the kids in our parks which I think is a wonderful thing,” he said.
Brown said it’ll be just like a neighborhood summer camp, something that’s very appealing to 54-year-old Robert Lowman who lives across the street from Woodstock Park on West Beaver Street.
“My oldest grandson is 15 and his brother is 12 going on 13, so anything that goes on in this park (they’re here practically every evening and afternoon) and they will be more involved with whatever’s going on, yes,” he said.
Woodstock is one of three Rec 'N Roll Jax parks that are inside the Operation Ceasefire area of Northwest Jacksonville where the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office has promised more police visibility in order to reduce gun-related crimes.

You can follow Cyd Hoskinson on Twitter @cydwjctnews.

CORRECTION: In a previously published version of this story Operation Ceasefire was referred to by an incorrect name.

Cyd Hoskinson began working at WJCT on Valentine’s Day 2011.