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Groundwork Jacksonville Planning Trails Between Downtown Neighborhoods

Mary McIntyre

Groundwork Jacksonville held a two-day session this week to discuss the proposed S-Line Rail Trail between historic Springfield and Jacksonville’s Eastside.

The S-Line is an abandoned stretch of railroad 4.8 miles long.

The American Society of Landscape Architects partnered with Groundwork Jacksonville for the session to help shape its vision for the trail.

Plans include converting it into a path for walking, biking and other recreation. The S-Line Rail Trail will connect to the Hogans Creek Greenway.

Doug Smith is a representative for the Florida chapter for ASLA. He led the presentation during the forum on the second day.

“My impressions coming in from out of town is this neighborhood area that we’re addressing is has got a lot of tremendous assets,” Smith said. “It’s a little bit of a gem in the rough.”

Groundwork Jacksonville CEO Dawn Emerick says the nonprofit could accomplish some of the objectives that emerged from the session within the next year.

She says short-term goals include making final connections between some existing trails.

Several area residents suggested establishing a maintenance program in response to issues with littering along those existing trails.

Another short-term goals includes devising a tree planting strategy along the trails so bikers would have enough shade coverage as they ride.

Constructing east and west connections across Main Street for pedestrians is a long-term goal.

Emerick says the purpose of the project is to create a safer transportation alternative for pedestrians and bikers in traffic-heavy areas.

Groundwork Jacksonville wants to use environmental friendly materials in the development of the trails.