By NewsLine Staff
mail@floridanewsline.com

On April 2, 2024, the St. Johns County Board of County Commissioners unanimously authorized the county administrator to move forward with an estimated $123 million plan to construct five regional parks and community centers. The presented plan was modified to include the consideration of a full-service library in Nocatee, considering the vast needs of the community of 32,000 residents. The approved plan also includes library hubs in the central (Shearwater) community park and northwest (Greenbriar) park.

County Administrator Joy Andrews and her staff will assemble a financing team to present a financing package back to the Board of County Commissioners for consideration at a future meeting date. With this regional park plan combined with previous financial commitments to parks, St. Johns County will have a five-year investment of more than $200 million into county-wide parks and recreation facilities to support an array of programs and services.

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Construction of the five-park campus project is expected to begin in 2024 and be completed by the end of 2026.

Ryan Kane, director of parks and recreation, shared that this regional plan is guided by the county’s master plan initiative from December 2022 to April 2023 that engaged the public and community partners to identify needs and locations of future parks in St. Johns County.

A summary of the five park campus projects includes:

Northeast Community Park ($43 million): Fields for baseball, softball, and multipurpose uses, pickleball and sand volleyball courts, splash pad, picnic pavilions, and a community center with indoor space to support the Supervisor of Elections and a full-service Public Library branch.

Central Sportsplex ($42 million): Five multipurpose fields with synthetic turf fields, three natural grass multipurpose fields, areas designated for tailgating, ticketing and food trucks, and grandstands with a press box.

Central Community Park ($13 million): Indoor space for recreational programs and to support the Supervisor of Elections and St. Johns County Public Library System services, courts for pickleball and basketball, a recreational field, a splash pad, and two playgrounds.

Northwest Community Park ($22.4 million): Fields for baseball and softball, courts for pickleball and sand volleyball, a community center with a designated area for library services, and picnic pavilions.

Davis Park Turf Fields ($3 million): Conversion of softball fields to baseball and to turf fields, and additional parking amenities.

St. Johns County budget director Jesse Dunn said, “It is important to note that no property taxes will be used to pay the cost of construction of these parks. Instead we will look to use a combination of existing accumulated impact fees paid by developments­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­ and a debt issuance to fund a Commission-approved program. St. Johns County has solid credit ratings of Moody’s Aaa and S&P AA+. We will service the debt using impact fees, tourism tax dollars, and recurring State remitted revenue.”

Photo courtesy St. Johns County
Rendering of proposed Northwest Community Park.

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