By Sandy Strickland
Jacksonville, FL (October 14, 2008)- More than 100 volunteers are turning out to spruce up Bruce. The park, that is. Greenscape of Jacksonville is spearheading a project to plant 71 new trees from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Oct. 21, at Bruce Park in Arlington. The park opened in 1955 on a 5.84-acre site at 6549 Arlington Road. The 32 live oak trees and 39 crape myrtles will provide needed shade and ambiance. Moreover, they’re being planted in such a way that they won’t serve as hiding places for the “bad guys,” said Anna Dooley, executive director of Greenscape, a nonprofit tree planting organization.
Volunteers from The Home Depot, Greenscape, Jacksonville University, area high schools, and the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office will plant the trees, prune existing ones, paint and clean up the park. Greenscape also will unveil new bleachers, benches and trash receptacles. “The goal is to provide a community gathering place that will be safe and a source of pride for the neighborhood,” Dooley said.
The city parks department also will upgrade the 51-year-old park’s restroom facilities and add a new outdoor drinking fountain. The sand surface in the playground area will be replaced with a fiber mulch, said Pam Wilson, parks department spokeswoman. The improvements, being funded with almost $129,000 in city money, should be completed by early 2007, Wilson said.
The planting is part of dozens of similar events being done nationwide in October, which has been declared National NeighborWoods Month by the Alliance for Community Trees. Greenscape is a member of the national nonprofit organization’s network.
The Greenscape project also ties in with Mayor John Peyton’s program to improve neighborhoods to help decrease crime, Dooley said. His “Seeds of Change” initiative includes more assistance with beautification, public safety and home ownership in Northwest Jacksonville and Historic Arlington, where Bruce Park is.
Seventy of the trees were grown at JEA’s 10-acre tree nursery at Montgomery Correctional Institution on the Northside, Dooley said. One large live oak has been purchased to commemorate the park’s revitalization. Adam Hollingsworth, the mayor’s policy chief, will help plant the live oak at 9:30 a.m. Publix Supermarkets will provide refreshments.
Dooley obtained an $8,000 grant from The Home Depot Foundation to fund the commemorative tree, two bleachers with handicapped-accessible concrete pads, two benches with the same pads and trash receptacles. Area Home Depot stores are donating paint and work gloves.
The park was named for Frederick Bruce, a civil engineer who founded the Alderman Realty Co. with H.L. Sprinkle and others in 1911. The company developed 1,100 acres in Arlington and established the ferry service across the St. Johns River from Beaver Street to Arlington.
When the Mathews Bridge opened in 1953, Arlington’s rapid growth led to demand for more recreational space. The Arlington Community Club was a trustee of property that Bruce and Sprinkle set aside for a park in 1924. The club donated the property to Duval County in 1954, and the park opened in 1955. The park has two volleyball courts, three tennis courts, a water spout play area, five basketball courts, an adult softball field, youth baseball field, playground equipment, picnic shelters, bleachers and a concession stand.
For the full article, visit Florida Times Union- New trees in plans for Arlington’s Bruce Park.