St. Johns County Announces $123 Million Regional Park Plan to Begin in 2024

St. Johns County Announces $123 Million Regional Park Plan to Begin in 2024

On April 2, 2024, the St. Johns County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) unanimously authorized the County Administrator to move forward with an estimated $123 million plan to construct five regional parks and community centers. The presented plan was modified by Commissioner Christian Whitehurst to include the consideration of a full-service library in Nocatee, considering the vast needs of the community of 32,000 residents. The approved plan also includes library hubs in the central (Shearwater) community park and northwest (Greenbriar) park.

The County Administrator and her staff will assemble a financing team to present a financing package back to the BOCC for consideration at a future meeting date. With this regional park plan combined with previous financial commitments to parks, St. Johns County will have a five-year investment of more than $200 million into county-wide parks and recreation facilities to support an array of programs and services.

County Commissioner Christian Whitehurst, who has been vocal about his advocacy for this plan since 2021, said, “Today we took the first big step towards meeting the needs for recreation space in St. Johns County. 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 begin in 2024 and be completed by the end of 2026.

Ryan Kane, Director of Parks and Recreation, said, “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. The amount of investment this board has made to the community’s parks and athletic infrastructure is nothing I have seen.” He shared that this regional plan is guided by the County’s master plan initiative from December 2022 to April 2023 that engaged the public and community partners to identify needs and locations of future parks in St. Johns County.

A summary of the five-park campus projects includes:

  • 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 and 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 to turf fields, and additional parking amenities.

Jesse Dunn, Budget Director, said, “It is important to note that no property taxes will be used to pay the cost of construction of these parks. 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. St. Johns County has solid credit ratings of Moody’s Aaa and S&P AA+. We will service the debt using impact fees, tourism tax dollars, and recurring State remitted revenue.”

Eric Henkel, President of the Ponte Vedra Athletic Association, said, “For the last several years, the Ponte Vedra Athletic Association has worked with the Board of County Commissioners and County Administration to identify solutions for a growing population with limited field space in St. Johns County.  The proposed Parks and Recreation development project will address a dire need for more parks facilities in St. Johns County. It is conservatively planned, financially sound, and long overdue.  PVAA Board members met several times with county staff to provide feedback for the project regarding designs, timelines, and potential future needs, with a good portion of our feedback being included in the final proposal. Our PVAA board is extremely pleased with the project’s approval and commend the Board of Commissioners and St. Johns County administration for their collaborative approach and partnership regarding this project. We look forward to our families enjoying the benefits of these new facilities for many years to come.”

The BOCC’s current investment since 2021 exceeds $100 million in more than 30 new and existing park facilities. This includes projects in various regions in St. Johns County:

  • Northwest: New Mill Creek Park, Plantation Turf Fields, Mills Field Lighting/Playground
  • Northeast: Vilano Beachfront Park, North Beach Park Renovation, Bird Island Park Renovation, Cornerstone playground
  • Southwest: Flagler Estates Community Center, PAL Field Project Collaboration, Al Wilke Park Master Plan
  • Southeast: Treaty Park Expansion, New Collier Blocker Playground, Genovar Acquisition & Design, Gamble Rogers Turf Fields

For more information about the St. Johns County Parks and Recreation Department, visit