JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

Mayor Alvin Brown joined others as they kayaked on the St. Johns River on Tuesday, emphasizing the importance of the river in Jacksonville in opening up launch sites for canoeists, kayakers, paddle boarders and the like.

For Brown, this part of the job is fun. He and others put it on the river at Blue Cypress Park in Arlington, pointing out a canoe launching site that will allow more people access to the St. Johns and other waterways in Jacksonville.

"This day is a special day, one that will launch the rebirth of our river access in our parks," Brown said.

The city said there are now 12 launch sites in Jacksonville at various parks. They cost virtually nothing to build, city officials said.

Tom Ingram, a river enthusiast, has been pushing for this for two months. He was happy to see the mayor grab a paddle and get the word out.

"This is a great start," Ingram said. "The next step is to identify funding to change some of our existing riverfront parks so we can add access -- places like Memorial Park in Riverside, Stockton Park in Ortega and Riverfront Park in San Marco."

All are ideas that the mayor wants to pursue.

The river access has always been available, but the mayor thinks it's important to put it out there so people know what is available.

The newly designated launch sites are:

  • Mandarin Park, 14780 Mandarin Road
  • County Dock, 2403 County Dock Road
  • Nathan Krestul Park, 2001 LaVaca Road
  • Stinson Park, 4050 San Juan Ave.
  • St. Johns Marina, 901 Museum Circle
  • Metro Park Marina, 4110 Gator Bowl Drive
  • Blue Cypress Park, 4012 University Blvd. N.
  • Arlington Lions Club Park, 4233 Richard D. Gatlin Road
  • Reddie Point Preserve, 4499 Yachtsman Way
  • North Shore Park, 7901 Pearl St.
  • Ribault River Preserve, 2617 Ribault Scenic Drive
  • Riverview Park, 9620 E. Water St.