JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The City of Jacksonville is upgrading a local park in the Lake Forest area, but some neighbors who have lived by the park for decades say it’s too little late for a park that has fallen into decay.
“You rarely see anybody even willing to come to the park because it's in such bad shape," said Benjamin Cole, who has lived across the street from Marion Park for nearly 30 years.
“Me and my wife, constantly over the years call the city to get them to come out to do different things to the park. They will come out, they will take care of the problems that we complain about, but they wouldn't maintain the product," said Cole.
New playground equipment is in the process of being installed after an old one became unsafe for children, according to city leaders.
Total improvements at the park include a new playground and new flex court, the work is scheduled to be complete by the fall of 2022 however, shipping delays may impact the projects, according to the city.
Cole points out that broken benches, cracked sidewalks, tree stumps and unsafe conditions still remain in the rest of the park.
“I would like for them to maintain it to the point where it was in the past, when we first moved to where families would come out here almost weekend and have their function down and enjoy itself. Don't have to worry about trees falling don't have to worry about broken, broken sidewalks," Cole said. "The main thing is maintaining the product. Don't just let it deteriorate.”
The city says they have heard concerns from residents about this park, and they are planning to assess this park and do improvements as needed. In a email response leaders said:
"Our parks have experienced and increased level of usage over the last couple of years. We value the feedback of the community as we work together to make improvements in neighborhoods all around the City."
They are also in the process of updating other playgrounds and park amenities throughout Jacksonville. The city has over 400 parks, which they say maintenance crews visit several times per week based off the use and the park's location.