Springfield Park is deteriorating and the longer City Council delays action the worse it will get.
The park is on Main Street, along Hogan’s Creek, at the border between downtown and what was Jacksonville’s first suburb, Springfield.
In recent years, it has been allowed to fall into disrepair, probably because Mayor Lenny Curry planned to tear down a historical monument to widows and children that is the central feature of the park.
But last week the council took the issue out of Curry’s hands. The disposition of the monument now is up to the council. It was a setback for those seeking to revise the city’s history and distort the past.
The monument could be torn down, as liberals demand, or it could be left as it has been for a century while parts of Jacksonville history that have been neglected or overlooked in the past are recognized. There are other options as well.
Discussion of the issue is needed to determine what other historical places or events would be included.
Doing nothing would mean the Springfield monument remains. At the least, the park should be restored to its former beauty in any event.
That could occur while the city is pursuing the completion of the Emerald Trail – or Mugger’s Highway, as some might call it – through the urban core. Revamping Hogan’s Creek is part of the project, and long overdue.
With a cost for the Emerald Trail exceeding $130 million, the relatively small expense of improving Springfield Park should not be a problem.
Council President Terrance Freeman should get the ball moving on discussions of the park’s future and the other matters that have been raised by those supporting the Unity Project. The Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/groups/637283300725512.
In July, one local media outlet quoted Lori Boyer of the Downtown Investment Authority as saying she and others were in the beginning stages of developing a riverfront parks conservancy aimed at making sure city parks did not “languish” and fall into disrepair. Boyer said they want to ensure that once the parks are built, they remain usable and beautiful.
It would be ludicrous for city officials to continue orating about downtown revitalization while ignoring one of the original cases of downtown beautification.
*Thank you Pat Geer for providing the picture used in this article.