Details, renderings of first segment of Emerald Trail released

First link of 30-mile urban trail to break ground this fall

Rendering of Park at Stonewall Streets after Emerald Trail overhaul. (Rendering from Groundworks Jacksonville)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Groundwork Jacksonville has unveiled the design of the Emerald Trail Model Project — the first segment of the urban trail that will link Brooklyn through LaVilla. Construction of the $3.9 million project, named the LaVilla Link, will begin this fall and take a year to complete.

“Our guiding principles are to design a beautiful, low-maintenance amenity that connects and honors our historic neighborhoods, incorporates green infrastructure wherever possible, and creates a safe habitat for birds, bees, pedestrians and bicyclists,” Kay Ehas, CEO of Groundwork Jacksonville, said in a statement Thursday.

The 30-mile Emerald Trail is a public-private partnership between the city of Jacksonville and Groundwork that will ultimately connect 14 historic urban neighborhoods to downtown, the St. Johns River, McCoys Creek and Hogans Creek. The entire project is scheduled to be completed by 2029.

From Park and Stonewall streets in Brooklyn, the 1.3-mile LaVilla Link will crosses over the Park Street Bridge by the Prime Osborn Convention Center and head north along Lee Street. It will turn west at Church Street and meander northward across Beaver Street until reaching the S-Line Rail Trail at Wilcox Street and State Street in the Railyard District.

Emerald Trial Model Project map and before/after photos of Lee Pond.

The 14-foot-wide concrete pedestrian/bicycle trail is designed for both active and passive recreation with abundant shade trees and native plantings. It will feature several signature points of interest like the Park Street Bridge and the Lee Street Pond.

In addition, the Trail will honor the LaVilla neighborhood through wayfinding, storyboards and public art installations while connecting to the historic landmarks, Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing Park and Florida C. Dwight Memorial Playground.

Design of the next two segments, Hogans Street and the S-Line Connector, will begin later this summer.

“We are one step closer to creating an amenity unlike any other in our city,” Mayor Lenny Curry said. “The Emerald Trail will promote historic communities, physical activity and wellness, and Jacksonville’s natural beauty. I remain grateful for the leadership of the Groundwork Jacksonville team and the contributions of the donors.”