10: 1005 West Forsyth Street LOVE that view! What other downtown can boast a field that overlooks another field that cars park on? If you look closely, you’ll see that the city has done a marvelous job maintaining the site’s many ecological areas, which include everything from grass to dead grass to bare patches of dirty sand. We can only hope the Landing looks this good when the city’s done with it!
9: Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing Park
For those who think creating a great park requires a lot of boring planning and effort, look no further than Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing Park, the childhood home site of author and civil rights leader James Weldon Johnson and his brother John Rosamond Johnson. Transforming the space from a grass lot into the bustling park shown above didn’t take expensive additions like programming, active amenities or a proper tribute to Jacksonville’s greatest literary titan. All it took was a resolution calling it a “Park” and a few strategically placed PVC signs with words on them. The payoff of the city’s efforts is obvious, and the space has emerged as one of the best maintained parks in the system.
8: 735 Houston Street The designers of this field were inspired by the Japanese concept of mono no aware, the understanding of and love for the impermanence of the material world. The distressed grounds, fallen sign and busted up fencing may look like the result of long-term neglect, but it’s all part of an intentional design reflecting on the transience of life. Mono no awesome!
7: 500 Block of Broad Street One word: stunning.
6: Old City Hall site, 220 Bay Street The newest addition to downtown Jacksonville’s vast collection of empty lots was once the old City Hall. What we lost in built density and interesting mid-century architecture we gained back in two benches and a folding chair. We can’t wait until the bungee chord comes off the bent fence (Mayor Curry has scheduled a bungie chord cutting ceremony for this summer) and residents and tourists alike start flocking to enjoy the field’s many amenities. This is just a taste of what we can expect at the Landing!