Lifting the LaVilla Neighborhood with new plans of the “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing” Park

The City of Jacksonville published the design plans Wednesday morning for the “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing” Park in the LaVilla neighborhood.

The park, located by Lee Street, and right near the new JTA building, is currently just an empty lot filled by grass and four memorial markers. The park is the location of where James Weldon Johnson and his brother, John Rosamond Johnson, were born.

“The vision for ‘Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing’ park is the fruit of years of planning, meetings and discussions with community stakeholders about how best to revitalize LaVilla, a once bustling neighborhood of arts, culture and entrepreneurship that was often referred to as the Harlem of the South. This park is a major component in a slew of efforts to revitalize this historic community,” Mayor Lenny Curry said at the unveiling.

The landscaper said that the design of the park will be based off the song lyrics.

“A large half of the site is lawn, which is lifted up in the air and half of the site is a garden which relates directly to the house and its archeology,” Walter Hood said. “The shotgun is used as a muse, as a way in which to bring that historic past forward. On its north side – a stage is created. Almost as an amplifier. The building giving its voice back out to the city.”

Other parts of the park design include an infinity fountain, tables and chairs by the garden, and a ‘poet’s walk’ alongside the park.

The final designs are expected to be complete by summer of 2021 and after bidding for a contractor, construction is scheduled to finish by fall of 2022. The preliminary costs for designs and construction will be approximately $2-3 million.

There is a community input session for the park and the LaVilla revitalization process happening in two weeks by the Jesse Ball duPont Fund. They will facilitate the discussion on October 13. Reservations can be done here.

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