Public Parks Seeking Private Funding in Jacksonville

Jacksonville, Florida is hoping private funding will come through to save the city's parks, which officials say they can't afford to build or maintain.

"'We're in survival mode right now. While this is a great amenity, there are other important things for the city like health care and education. I'm glad we got in under the gun with this,' said former Councilman Dick Kravitz, who was instrumental in getting the park in the 1990s before his election to the state House."

"Public recreation space, considered a prize attraction for residents of the 800-plus-square-mile city, poses a troublesome dynamic, Mayor John Peyton said."

"'In this soft economy, this is a time we should be investing in parks,' he said. 'It's a place people can go that's free.'"

"Only, the space isn't free to build or maintain."

"Peyton said the city spends $49 for every resident annually on the parks system. That's stretching a buck, he argued; he said Miami-Dade County spends $96 a head on parks. There also is a clear down side, he said, as the Palmetto expansion showed."

"...Parks spokeswoman Pam Wilson said a citywide search is beginning for community and faith-based organizations to support recreational programs."

Full Story: Jacksonville looks to private sector to fund parks

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