The project to beautify a former railway route north of downtown Jacksonville is a piece of a broader plan to connect older neighborhoods through a corridor of green space called the Emerald Trail.
Volunteers gathered litter and planted an herb and spice garden Monday to complete upgrades beautifying the S Line section of Jacksonville’s Emerald Trail.
The work along a “biodiversity corridor” on the former rail line put a greener face on a section of the trail that nonprofit Groundwork Jacksonville has championed as a tool to improve aging neighborhoods near the city’s center.
The group landed a $20,000 grant last year from the Arbor Day Foundation and an arm of TD Bank Group to pay for upgrades that included explanatory signs, a cabinet-like “bee hotel,” the herb and spice garden and a “pollinator garden” designed with an eye to the insects that help plants’ reproduction.
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The project adds to city-funded tree planting and work by Groundwork Jacksonville volunteers that have been working to connect dozens of neighborhoods through a path of green space encircling neighborhoods that often date to the 19th and early 20th centuries.
The work, in a neighborhood north of UF Health Jacksonville hospital, is part of a long-term plan to help enliven neighborhoods that have deteriorated over time.
The 0.3-mile corridor between Davis and Boulevard streets could draw people to the area the way parts of Atlanta’s Beltline encouraged renewal there, said Cindy Stover, TD Bank’s market president. Stover said she had seen that transformation firsthand and wanted her bank to be part of something like that in Jacksonville.
That was generally the goal for others underwriting the work too.
The grant was meant “to help communities not only enrich green spaces, but also enrich lives,” Arbor Day Foundation President Dan Lambe said in written comments before the work Monday.
Steve Patterson: (904) 359-4263