Rec 'N Roll Jax summer program returns, expands


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Mayor Alvin Brown announced Thursday that the Rec 'N Roll program will return this summer for children at city parks.

The program is aimed at keeping local kids out of trouble during the restless summer months by putting coaches in urban parks to provide guidance and supervision to kids. There's no cost to participate.

The mayor said that last year's program was so successful, city officials knew they had to do it again this year. Thanks to private support, Rec 'N Roll Jax started last summer for eight weeks at 10 parks in high-crime neighborhoods. Within a half-mile radius of all but one of the parks, crime rates declined during the time the Rec 'N Roll Jax program was in operation.

"Having the opportunity to invest in programs that would target at-risk youth, to ensure that they're not getting into gangs or participating in criminal activity, I think that's important," Brown said.

This year, the program will expand from 10 to 18 parks around the city. Seven of those parks are in and around the Operation Ceasefire zone:

  • J. Gardner Nip Sams Memorial Park: 7000 Richardson Road
  • Clanzel T. Brown Park: 4575 Moncrief Road
  • Grunthal Park: 1660 West 13th St.
  • Johnnie W. Walker Park: 2500 West 20th St.
  • Julius Guinyard Park and Pool: 1359 Jefferson St.
  • Lem Merrett Park: 845 Ellis Road
  • Woodstock Park: 2839 West Beaver St.

The other nine parks where the program will be available are:

  • Bruce Park: 6549 Arlington Road
  • Carvill Park: 1302 Carvill Ave.
  • Charles Boobie Clark Park and Pool: 8793 Sibbald Road
  • Panama Park: 6912 Buffalo Ave.
  • Pine Forest Elementary School Park: 3939 Grand Road
  • Ray Greene Park: 2149 Leonid Road
  • Tallulah Park: 382 Tallulah Ave.
  • Thomas Jefferson Park: 320 Jackson Ave.
  • Warrington Park: 325 Bowlan St.
  • Willowbranch Park: 2870 Sydney St.
  • Yancey Park: 3352 Soutel Dr.

Attorney Steve Pajcic again donated $50,000 to help pay for the program, which will run from June 15 through Aug. 7.

The mayor also announced that the Department of Justice has assigned a team of experts to work with Jacksonville in fighting youth crime. He said those resources should be in place by the summer.