Hemming Park

Pedestal in the middle of Hemming Park where a confederate mounment used to be on top, downtown buildings in the background, and the skyrail
Sky Lebron / WJCT News

Councilman Garrett Dennis filed a bill this week that would urge the city to give the recently taken down Charles Hemming monument back to the Hemming family. 

Rodney Hurst speaking on a platform, with a picture of the young black demonstrators in the background, the podium that Hurst is speaking on has flowers in front of it.
Sky Lebron / WJCT News

Civil Rights activists, community leaders and Jacksonville City Council members attended a gathering Thursday in what is now called James Weldon Johnson Park right outside of City Hall to commemorate the 60th anniversary of Ax Handle Saturday. 

people mill around a plaza in front of a 60th anniversary backdrop
Sky Lebron / WJCT News

The newly named James Weldon Johnson Park in Downtown Jacksonville has been added to the African American Civil Rights Network on Thursday, the 60th anniversary of Ax Handle Saturday.

Outside of City Hall, large building with steps leading to the entrance, a couple of palm trees out in the front
Brendan Rivers / WJCT News

Jacksonville City Councilman Ron Salem wants to create a lengthier process to rename public parks and buildings, after the council two weeks ago struggled with changing the names of two parks. 

Pillar where the Hemming Park monument used to stand, including a fountain and path. Buildings and trees in the background.
Sky Lebron / WJCT News

Less than a week after the Jacksonville City Council voted to rename Hemming Park to James Weldon Johnson Park, Councilman Rory Diamond is filing a bill to institute a two-year moratorium on the future renaming of public parks, buildings, recreational facilities and public streets. 

Hemming Park pillar, with nothing at the top, buildings, sky and trees in the background.
Sky Lebron / WJCT News

Ahead of Tuesday’s Jacksonville City Council meeting, Councilman Garrett Dennis is filing five emergency bills to rename parks throughout the city to honor veterans. 

Heather Schatz/WJCT

 


On Friday’s episode of First Coast Connect with Melissa Ross, our Media Roundtable discussed some of the top stories of Northeast Florida this week, including:

 

Empty pedestal in Hemming Park where the Confederate monument once stood. Building and trees in the background
Sky Lebron / WJCT News

During Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry’s COVID-19 media briefing Wednesday afternoon, he weighed in on the renaming of Downtown’s Hemming Park and provided some context on the city’s removal of Confederate monuments and markers. 

Pedestal in the middle of Hemming Park where a confederate mounment used to be on top, downtown buildings in the background, and the skyrail
Sky Lebron / WJCT News

A Jacksonville City Councilman is introducing a bill to change the name of Hemming Park. 

Michael Rivera / Wikimedia Commons

Although The Jacksonville Landing is being demolished, one decades-old holiday tradition from the riverfront marketplace will live on.

Bill Bortzfield / WJCT News

As Jacksonville attempts to revitalize its downtown, some people complain they are being forced out of city parks illegally.

LYNSEY WEATHERSPOON FOR NPR

Wednesday on First Coast Connect we were joined by Jacksonville City Councilmember Anna Lopez Brosche to discuss whether Jacksonville should place a memorial to those lynched in Duval County in Hemming Park.

She also talked about a potential run for mayor (01:20).

JEA headquarters exterior
Bill Bortzfield / WJCT News

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry’s Office has released additional details for his plan to fly the five military branch flags in front of City Hall.

In Long-Empty Church, Activist Sees Potential For Museum Of Jacksonville’s Civil Rights Past

Apr 23, 2018
Will Dickey / The Florida Times-Union

Fifty-eight years after blacks and whites met in a church to negotiate integrating Jacksonville lunch counters following a riot, a city task force is considering whether that church should become a museum.

MARYBETH GARRISON

This Saturday on the First Coast and around the world students will take to the streets in a show of support for ending gun violence.

Gabrielle Garay / WJCT News

Friends of Hemming Park are celebrating the downtown gathering spot's past and future.

'People Of The Maidan’ Photo Exhibit In Hemming Park

Nov 16, 2017
Lindsey Kilbride / WJCT News

Those who decide to take a walk in Jacksonville’s Hemming Park this week, may also learn about the Ukrainian Revolution of 2014 — that’s because there’s an outdoor photo exhibit on the subject.


News4Jax

Jacksonville City Council President Anna Lopez Brosche said she wants to make sure she has complete information before possibly introducing a bill to move Confederate monuments and markers from public spaces to museums.

Lindsey Kilbride / WJCT News

Some Jacksonville artists are pushing back against changes to the monthly downtown Art Walk that require them, along with all programming, to move indoors.

The change is happening after street protests at the August event. However, organizers said the changes were in the works anyway.

Ryan Benk / WJCT News

An army of volunteers will descend on downtown Jacksonville’s Hemming Park Saturday to begin planting gardens and making other improvements.

Friends of Hemming Park CEO Bill Prescott walked through the park Friday morning, stopping next to the Laura Street fountain. It’s surrounded by a chain-link fence.


Ryan Benk / WJCT News

Progressive activists say they’re keeping the pressure on State Attorney Melissa Nelson to drop charges against downtown protesters after an incident in Hemming Park earlier this month.

Members of the Progressive Coalition are framing Nelson’s handling of the “Jax Five” as the first real test of her career as the area’s top prosecutor.


Friday on “First Coast Connect” our weekly Media Roundtable featured blogger Fred Matthews, WJCT reporter Lindsey Kilbride, Jacksonville Business Journal editor Tim Gibbons and WJCT business analyst John Burr. We also spoke with journalist Soledad O’Brien, who is holding a workshop for young women Saturday at WJCT and we heard on in-studio performance by singer-songwriter Morley.   

     

News4Jax

Jacksonville attorney John Phillips said he’s conducting a review of what happened during a Hemming Park protest Friday as he prepares to represent at least one of those arrested.

Several protesters were arrested during a demonstration against last week’s U.S. airstrikes in Syria. Philips said he’s reviewing all available evidence of what led to the arrests.

Bruce Lipsky- Florida Times-Union

Six people were arrested Friday when a protest downtown against the U.S. firing missiles at a Syrian airbase turned violent.

Video of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s officers taking protestors to the ground has been shared around the world, including London’s Daily Mail.

On Saturday, protesters gathered in front of the Duval County Courthouse demanding the charges against those arrested be dropped.

  Monday on “First Coast Connect” guest host Ryan Benk spoke with Friends of Hemming Park interim director Bill Prescott, Candy Apple Cafe & Cocktails co-owner Jen Earnest and Wolf and Cub Boutique co-owner Emily Moody about the future of Hemming Park. Local musician Desean Kirkland performed live in studio and Cole Pepper brought us the latest sports news. 


Ryan Benk / WJCT News

The nonprofit that manages downtown Jacksonville’s Hemming Park is getting another chance to prove it can handle the responsibility.

Mayor Lenny Curry originally planned for the city to take back control of the park after the Friends of Hemming Park misspent public funds. But Curry last week announced he’d extend Friends’ lease another six months.

Business owners around Hemming want city government to know the park’s condition directly affects their livelihoods.


Lindsey Kilbride / WJCT News

The Jacksonville City Council Neighborhoods Committee voted Monday to recommend the full council withdraw a bill to designate Hemming Park’s confederate monument a historical landmark.

Council president Lori Boyer called for the withdrawal, but said she wants to bring back a more thought-out plan for preserving the park’s history.


Lindsey Kilbride / WJCT News

The Jacksonville City Council this week approved a bill making it easier for police to ban people from city parks when they break rules. Drinking in the park could get the offender banned for a year, for example.

A separate bill approved Tuesday also extends Hemming Park’s boundaries. Now, if someone is banned from Hemming, they can’t hang out on the surrounding sidewalks or under the Skyway platform.  

Lindsey Kilbride / WJCT News

The Jacksonville City Council is expected to approve new park regulations and strengthen enforcement of them at Tuesday’s City Council meeting.

Jacksonville police have been banning people from parks only for crimes listed in the city’s code, like sexual battery and prostitution. But officers have said that limits their ability to enforce park rules because other crimes aren't listed.


Saphara Harrell / WJCT News

Jacksonville City Council members met Wednesday to discuss ways to cut down on rule-breaking in the park outside of Jacksonville’s City Hall.

The council is proposing to extend the boundary of Hemming Park’s rules to the surrounding streets. The council is especially concerned with disturbing the peace, patrons not wearing appropriate clothing, panhandling and sleeping in the park.

Under the new plan, rules violators would have to move to sidewalks across from the park or risk a trespassing violation.

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