The City of Gainesville Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department is pleased to announce the adoption of Duval Park by the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice. In recognition of the adoption, the partners will host a community celebration at Duval Park Thursday, Sept. 29 at 10:30 a.m.
Youth involved in the project will provide a valuable service to the community, learn about the environment and spend active time outdoors with mentors and role models. They will assist with park enhancements, such as vegetation management, facility improvements and maintenance, and cleanups. City of Gainesville Program Coordinator for Environmental Education Sally Wazny is excited about the partnership, “This will be a benefit for the youth involved in terms of body, mind, and spirit. Getting youth outdoors helps to improve activity levels and combat obesity, improves their attention and decreases their stress levels. Working in the park will help to develop a sense of place in the community while empowering the participants.” Wazny also hopes the program might inspire some youth involved to pursue environmental careers or nature related hobbies. The community will also benefit from the improved appearance of the park and surrounding neighborhood.
“We are very excited to partner with the City of Gainesville on this worthwhile endeavor,” said Department of Juvenile Justice Secretary Christina K. Daly. “This project will not only provide youth the opportunity to get outside and be active, but instill in them a better understanding of how they can give back to their community.”
Duval Park was acquired by the City of Gainesville Public Works Department in 2004 to alleviate area flooding problems, provide water quality treatment for the Booker T. Washington subdivision, and to be enjoyed as a neighborhood park. The property was acquired with support from the Florida Communities Trust using Florida Forever funds. The park has a beautiful canopy of native pine trees and other natural vegetation. A pond, constructed on the western portion of the property, provides habitat for native birds and animals and water filtration. Recreational amenities at the park include a large picnic pavilion with a view of the pond, a playground, boardwalks, an overlook platform, open grassy areas for picnics and other activities and interpretive signage. Opened to the public in 2009, the park is managed by the City of Gainesville Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department.
The kickoff event features speakers and the unveiling of the adoption recognition sign. Afterwards, staff will be on hand to answer questions while guests have the opportunity to tour the park.
Duval Park is located at 520 NE 21st St. Parking is available at nearby Mt. Carmel Baptist Church, 2505 NE Eighth Ave. A shuttle van will be available to take guests from the parking area to the event location on the west side of Duval Park. A restroom facility will be available for the celebration. The public is welcome and encouraged to attend. RSVPs are not required. Please contact Linda Demetropoulos, nature manager, at 352-393-8445 for more information.