By Gretchen McPherson
Ledger Staff 

Town of Jay proceeds with park master plan


January 30, 2020

The Jay Council voted approval Tuesday, Jan. 21, to proceed on the Master Park Plan, a multi-phase project that will incorporate practice and playing fields for both football and soccer while enhancing the park to maintain the current sports of baseball, basketball and tennis.

Discussion about the field held currently by the American Legion led to the possibility of a lease or sale to obtain the extra field space as well as the best places to put parking for convenience to guests.

A public meeting was held at 5 p.m., Tuesday, Jan 21, prior to the town council meeting, to discuss the Master Park Plan.

Some projects that may come under the LOST (Local Option Sales Tax) discussed at the meeting are: mulch for the playground; ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) improvements needed, such as a handicapped swing; the need for one or more AEDs at the park; light timer boxes to save energy; park bathrooms (ADA compliance also); electrical locks for the bathrooms; canopies for the playground; upgrades for the bathroom; re-building and moving the concessions stand; and roads and road signs.

The council is trying to plan around times of the year that sports are played in determining the phases and the best path to keeping the park usable now while working through the phases without too much interruption to activities.

The phases are tentative and can be altered or changed as needed.

Phase 1 will be to renovate the swing set, demolish the old playground equipment and construct new playground equipment.

Phase 2 will be to demolish the existing concession stand and construct a new concession stand in a position that is advantageous for access to all baseball and softball fields.

Phase 3 involves demolishing the existing bathrooms and construct ADA compliant bathrooms in a position that is advantageous for access to all playing fields.

Phase 4 will be to demolish current tennis courts and construct new courts, removing trees as needed to prevent root growth underneath the playing surfaces. Phase 5 is to renovate T-ball fields. Phase 6 is to renovate the baseball and softball fields. Phase 7 will be to add a football practice area. Phase 8 will be to add a soccer practice area and finally, Phase 9 will be to create an amphitheater area.

The first several phases are considered “gotta haves” and the last several are more of a wish list, according to the council.

Seib said that the next step is to get yearly first quarter pricing of playground equipment prices and decide which equipment suits the age and activities most visitors will benefit from, in addition to renovating the swing set.

A Community Service Day to build the playground, using some volunteers, is part of the master timeline. At that same time, volunteers can help with the creation of the Born Learning Trail, a grant from the United Way presented to the council recently.

The town has submitted a legislative appropriation for $300,000 and other applications, such as a FRDAP (Florida Recreation Development Assistance Program) grant application, along with a possible yearly $25,000 from Santa Rosa County Commissioner Don Salter, will help fund each phase.

Infrastructure aspects, such as drainage and water, will be a major component of the engineering side of the plan. Relocating and building the concessions stand and bathrooms, as well as awareness of existing water lines, affect the complexity of the long-term project.

A mention of a possible splash pad in the future by Jay Mayor Shon Owens topped off the wish list for council members.

A Santa Rosa County citizen feedback workshop to give the public an opportunity to learn how the county's annual budget is funded and allocated is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Tues., Feb. 18, at Jay Community Center, located at 5259 Booker Lane in Jay. A budget in brief can be found online at

The next Jay Council meting will be at 6 p.m., Monday, Feb. 3 at Jay Town Hall.


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