County Commissioners Approve Regional Parks Plan

County Commissioners Approve Regional Parks Plan

St. Johns County Commissioners earlier this month gave the green light to a $123 million plan to build five regional parks and community centers.

A financing package to cover the costs of the effort, which also includes consideration of placing a full-service library in Nocatee added at the request of Commissioner Christian Whitehurst, will be presented to commissioners at a future meeting, according to a county media release.

“Today we took the first big step toward meeting the needs for recreation space in St. Johns County,” Whitehurst said. “It’s exciting to think about how this will not only benefit children who live here today, but future generations of children that will call St. Johns County their home.”

Construction of the five-park campus project is expected to be completed by the end of 2026.

According to Ryan Kane, St. Johns County director of parks and recreation, the commission action is part of a process that began several years ago.

“Since COVID, we have begun a journey of investing in parks and additional recreational and sports opportunities for those who live and visit St. Johns County,” he said.

Kane said the regional parks plan includes input from community partners and the public from the county’s master plan initiative to identify needs and locations of future parks in the county.

The five projects include: 

Northeast Community Park ($43M): Fields for baseball, softball, and multipurpose uses, pickleball and sand volleyball courts, splash pad, picnic pavilions, and a community center with indoor space to support the Supervisor of Elections as well as a full-service Public Library branch.

Central Sportsplex ($42M): Five multipurpose fields with synthetic turf fields, three natural grass multipurpose fields, areas designated for tailgating, ticketing and food trucks, and grandstands with a press box.

Central Community Park ($13M): Indoor space for recreational programs and to support the Supervisor of Elections and St. Johns County Public Library System services, courts for pickleball and basketball, a recreational field, a splash pad and two playgrounds.

Northwest Community Park ($22.4M): Fields for baseball and softball, courts for pickleball and sand volleyball, a community center with a designated area for library services, and picnic pavilions.

Davis Park Turf Fields ($3M): Conversion of softball fields to baseball and turf fields, and additional parking amenities.

Funding for the projects will come from a variety of sources, according to county budget director Jesse Dunn.

“It is important to note that no property taxes will be used to pay the cost of construction of these parks,” Dunn said in the release. “Instead we will look to use a combination of existing accumulated impact fees paid by developments and a debt issuance to fund a Commission-approved program. We will service the debt using impact fees, tourism tax dollars, and recurring state-remitted revenue.”