Statement from Mark Middlebrook, Executive Director of the Timucuan Parks Foundation, former Executive Director, Preservation Project Jacksonville:
“Whether or not to allow a developer to build 1400 houses in the Julington-Durbin Creek Preserve in return for some new park amenities there and the promise to preserve environmentally sensitive land on Black Hammock Island is the wrong debate.
It is not an ‘either/or’ discussion. Both properties are critical to the environmental health of the City.
Shortly after Mayor John Delaney announced the Preservation Project Jacksonville, it was clear the City had an opportunity never before imagined: Jacksonville could create a network of preserves inside our city limits that would rival any city park system in the nation.
Julington-Durbin Creek Preserve was the first major purchase.
The City, multiple state agencies, the National Park Service, and the Water Management District spent more than $200 million creating an 80 square mile ring of preserves and trail corridors during Delaney’s administration.
The debate today should not be whether one environmentally sensitive property is more important than another;
Or that the lack of accessibility is the trigger that allows public property to be converted into private ownership.
The debate? Are we going to preserve the Preservation Project?”
Also, see this great article by Mark Woods: