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Memorial Park, Jacksonville

(75+ reviews on the web)
Nature / Park
THE STORY OF MEMORIAL PARK

Built by the people of Jacksonville to honor the 1220 Floridians who died during World War I, Memorial Park, one of Jacksonville’s crown jewels, was dedicated Christmas Day 1924 on the banks of the St. Johns River. Designed by the renowned Olmsted Bros. landscape architecture firm, Memorial Park stands at the heart of one of Jacksonville’s great neighborhoods, within walking distance of a flourishing restaurant district and just a few blocks down the street from one of the city’s cultural treasures, the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens, as well as the nearby Riverside Arts Market.

When the weather is good, as it often is in Jacksonville, the park is crowded. Fishermen toss their line over the balustrades into the St. Johns River. Walkers, runners and cyclist circle through the park along the broad walkways. The great lawn is covered with people tossing Frisbees, kicking soccer balls, playing games of catch or just picnicking on blankets they set on the ground.

Since 1986, when the Memorial Park Association (MPA) was formed, the City of Jacksonville has had a partner in maintaining and nurturing this wonderful asset. The city provides security for the park and provides routine maintenance. The MPA’s job is to fill in the gaps in routine maintenance, spending about $20,000 a year on park maintenance.

But MPA does far more than assist in maintenance, taking on larger scale projects the city cannot or will not undertake.

On the MPA’s watch, Charles Adrian Pillars’ great sculpture “Life” has twice undergone restoration. Following major hurricane damage, restoration of the walkways and the landscape was completed in two phases by 2002. The MPA completed fundraising and dedicated two new bronze eagles, designed and cast by Diane LaFond Insetta in 2010.

2014 was very busy year for the MPA. Members raised more than $50,000 to help serve the MPA’s mission and contributed more 730 volunteer hours working in the park. The MPA secured an agreement with the City Council for a $200,000 matching grant for capital improvements and has, to date, raised $156,000 of that sum. The MPA held three major events in the park: a free Memorial breakfast in the park with support from local businesses, a free Veteran’s Day sunset concert by the U.S. Navy Band Southeast, and an Oktoberfest celebration.

But the MPA’s most ambitious project is still in the planning stages. In 2013 the board adopted a Master Plan, based on the recommendations of Atlanta landscape architect David Sacks. The goals of the Master Plan are “designed to restore the luster of the park, enhance its appeal to today’s visitors, and pass along intact to future generations the unique beauty and character of this spot.”
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • By love hate, I mean it's a beautiful little park in a great location! Playing with your dog, strolling along the river...it's fantastic. The downside? Good lord the homeless/drunk/vagrants! Every ben...  more »
  • walked through the park today. Lots of people, both young and old flying kits and having lunch by the river. I have lived in st. Augustine for almost ten years and never was there, I am very glad that...  more »
  • Great place to clear your head. You can walk, eat lunch or enjoy the river. Statues are informative. Starbucks is across the street if you want to have a coffee while enjoying the park  more »
Google
  • Waterfront park with a nice breeze along the shore and a large open lawn for playing or picnicking. A large walkway is good for doing laps and regularly provided with benches. It also has two gyms and a bunch of pokestops if you play Pokemon Go.
  • Nice little park where locals sit to read or play frisbee with their dogs. Benches, great views of St. John's and large trees for shade. No facility or trash receptacles.
  • This is a great place to walk the circle and think! Or stand at the fence and look out on the water. Nice park!
  • Great park to ride your bike or walk into. Especially early morning to see the sun rise over the St John's. Close to a bunch of shops, restaurants, and grocery stores.
  • Peaceful, beautiful, quiet, serene. Lots of open space to exercise, read, walk, nap, have a picnic, take pictures....just and overall awesome place!