Drainage fix at Landon track means public usage in future

Drainage fix at Landon track means public usage in future

Landon Middle School in San Marco will receive city money to pay for improvements on its playing field and surrounding track.

In early June, after a joint-use agreement was signed between the Duval County School Board and the city parks department, District 5 Councilwoman Lori Boyer executed a transfer form to allocate $75,000 from her Loblolly Recreation/Parks account to upgrade the drainage at the occasionally soggy facility.

“The field has always had drainage difficulties,” said Duval County School Board District 3 Representative Ashley Smith-Juarez. “This is an important example of how the city government and school board can work together. I want to thank Councilwoman Boyer. This couldn’t have been done without her commitment to the project.”

The design for the improvements has been completed and the city has received a preliminary estimate for the work, said Tia R. Ford, a spokesperson for the Duval Country Public Schools Operations Department. According to Ford, the current costs exceed the budget for the project, and the city and school department are working to review the scope in order to bring it into budget. At this time, there is no estimated timeframe for bidding and completion of the work; however, it is anticipated that the project may be able to be completed in the fall of 2015, she said.

“I will work with the school district to see what I can do to look at the scope of the project,” said Smith-Juarez, noting that she will work to “get it completed before the school year begins so the students are not disrupted.”

Once the improvements are complete and new sod is planted, the facility will be named Landon Middle School Park and will be open for public use during evenings after school sports practices are finished and the district is no longer using the facility. The track and field will also be available to the public on weekends and during the day during the summer. As with other parks in San Marco, the track and field will only be open until dark because there are no lights at the facility.

“For years I’ve had requests from individuals in the community to use the track for walking and jogging,” said Boyer, who added that many residents regard the cushioned surface of the track as a safe place to exercise. No organized league play will be allowed on the field, but the grassy expanse inside the track will be available for pick-up soccer games or for neighborhood youth team practices.

“We are hoping residents will pay attention to the park rules and clean up after themselves so that this can be a relationship that will continue,” Boyer said. “The school won’t allow continued public use if we abuse the facility.”

By Marcia Hodgson
Resident Community News

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