City identifies two kayak launch sites

Lake Marco location could involve more
infrastructure work

By Susanna P. Barton
Resident Community News

City officials are considering two San Marco sites as kayak launches: the Brookwood Road side of Craig Creek and Lake Marco at Largo Road. While the Brookwood Road location requires little more than signage, the Lake Marco project might require the construction of a floating dock or ramp that would help get kayakers off the shoreline and into the water.
Tara Meeks, chief of waterfront management and programming for the City of Jacksonville, said that Lake Marco has “unique features” that make it of interest for local water access. It is one of the only lakes near downtown Jacksonville that provides direct river access.
“It gives people the opportunity to get into their kayak before they get out on the river where they might tip over,” Meeks said. The city has been trying to promote better water access for citizens across the city. The kayak launch initiative is a low-cost way to create awareness of local access points, and most sites require only signage.
Such is the case with the Craig Creek site. Originally planned for the River Oaks side, the kayak launch would simply involve a sign indicating a kayak logo. Although some residents say the creek launch is too tidal, and would not be an ideal venue for local boaters. Parking also is an issue city planners and residents have in their sights.
Parking is one of the primary concerns residents have voiced about the Lake Marco plans, which city officials say are still at least a year out in the planning stages.
Meeks said the city still in research mode.
“It’s an initial phase where we’re saying, ‘this is a unique feature, let’s get input on the plan,’” Meeks said, indicating it would take six to nine months for design and required permitting.
When the kayak topic came up during District 5 City Councilwoman Lori Boyer’s recent community meeting, some Largo Road residents expressed their frustration.
“The Largo area is continually being asked to be more public — if you’re hearing frustration, it’s that we feel that surely there can be other places — it doesn’t always have to be Largo,” said a resident, who was upset with the continued parking overflow from San Marco Square.
Meeks encouraged residents to contact her and promised more dialogue and research on the city’s plans.

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