JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A young man drowned early Thursday in a retention pond at an apartment complex off Old Baymeadows Road, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office said.
The drowning was reported at the Baytree on Baymeadows Apartments, which are just east of the intersection of Baymeadows Road and Old Baymeadows Road.
Sgt. Chris Stephens said about 4 a.m. Thursday a witness became aware that someone was in the pond struggling and by the time others got to the pond to see if they could help, the man had gone under.
The JSO Dive Team was called out and the man’s body was recovered. Stephens said he’s believed to be in his late teens to early 20s.
It’s unclear why he was in the pond, but he’s believed to be a resident of the complex. Stephens said foul play is not suspected.
A map of the complex shows a large retention pond near the rear of the complex, surrounded by buildings.
There is a posted “no swimming” sign at the pond.
Council members are trying to figure out the best way to address the ongoing issue at city retention ponds, a process that
“And, unfortunately, it’s not the retention ponds,” said Councilwoman Ju’Coby Pittman. “The retention ponds are being built to standards and regulations. I think it’s a matter of educating the (HOA)s, the apartment complexes, to make sure that signage is around and most signages are around the retention ponds that belong to the city as well as private.”
The city ordered crews to allow a 5-foot buffer of vegetation to grow around the 200+ retention ponds it manages to prevent accidents. There are no such regulations for privately managed retention ponds, although the city encourages precautions.
Pittman says private properties have been resistant to the ideas of fencing since the three children drowned and the bodies of three adults were pulled from retention ponds this year.
Pittman says as the city continues to meet with stakeholders, she thinks the best course of action is signage and education for families about where ponds are located.
According to Pittman, the next meeting on retention ponds will be held in January or February.