Parents voice concerns about changes to Fernandina Beach’s Central Park

Complaints pour in on social media; City says more changes are coming

Parents are speaking out about changes made to Central Park in Fernandina Beach.

FERNANDINA BEACH, Fla. – Parents in Nassau County are speaking out about changes made to Central Park in Fernandina Beach.

They say the changes are not what they thought the park would be -- and they hope improvements are still in the works. The city said more changes are coming.

A bright colorful structure with slides and poles was removed from the playground because it had “reached the end of its life,” the city said.

And some parents are disappointed with what replaced it, saying it limits what their kids can do at the park because the play equipment is broken up and spread out.

Lexie Fortenberry said she brings her kids to Central Park at least once a week.

“For a while, we were having like Friday playdates,” Fortenberry said.

She said a few weeks ago, she and other parents learned some changes were coming to the park.

At first, they were intrigued, but when the changes were revealed this week, “It was sad,” Fortenberry said.

She went to Facebook asking if the city was done with the improvements.

Hundreds of people started commenting and some, like Beki Morris, reached out to city leaders. Morris sent the city an email about the park and got a response.

“I think that the city will handle it appropriately,” Morris said. “It’s not finished. The director of Parks and Rec did let me know that they saved slides from the previous structure, and they will be reinstalling those.”

The city said three slides were saved and will be incorporated into the play area. And the new play structures were chosen to fit all abilities.

The former play structure at Central Park in Fernandina Beach (Courtesy of City of Fernadina Beach)

“I don’t think at this time -- in this stage -- that we have all ages covered. If it’s coming, awesome. We’re super excited,” Fortenberry said.

Other parents who spoke to News4JAX had similar views, saying they’re looking forward to what else can be brought to this part of their community.

There are other parks in the area. Fortenberry said she’s considered switching to one of those until the changes are made, but until then, she and her family will roll with the punches.

She said if you look at parks in other surrounding cities, that’s what she and other parents want at Central Park.

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