New tables, chairs and trash cans coming to Balis Park

Thanks to the City of Jacksonville Parks Department, Christmas is coming early to San Marco Square in the form of new chairs and garbage cans in Balis Park.

In late October or early November, seating for 12 will be available under the trees near the back of the gazebo, said Joe Carlucci, president of the San Marco Merchants Association (SMMA). 

Four new top-of-the-line tables and attached chairs will be placed in the park permanently giving residents and visitors a place to eat take-out food from local restaurants, enjoy events, or simply take a rest comfortably in the center of San Marco Square. In addition, all the old coquina trash cans will be replaced with four larger-capacity rubbish bins, Carlucci said.

“The coquina ones were super ugly and super small, so they are all going away,” he said, adding that the trash receptacles that have been ordered match ones that are already placed around San Marco. “Also, we didn’t skimp at all on the tables and chairs. They are going to be top of the line,” he said.

SMMA members saw the need for more permanent seating after several weeks of hosting Open Air in the Square, the first event to be held in Balis Park since the advent of COVID-19. The event, which began in May, allowed diners to social distance while enjoying take-out food from local San Marco restaurants in the park. Providing the tables and chairs for the weekend events were Southside Baptist Church, SMMA, and the San Marco Preservation Society (SMPS).

“It was an experiment. When we had people sitting outdoors, we realized the trash cans were not nearly adequate enough for just two nights of dining out,” Carlucci said, noting SMMA worked hand-in-hand with SMPS in selecting the new park furniture. “The chairs will be attached to the tables, so we don’t have to secure them every night, and they won’t be concrete like the others in the park. We heard it loud and clear that no one wanted concrete tables.”

By Marcia Hodgson
Resident Community News

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