Henry L. Brown Kooker Park gets major facelift

By Ashley Harding - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - One of Jacksonville's oldest parks is getting a major facelift thanks to community leaders and the NFL.

They will be joined by Jacksonville Jaguars officials Thursday morning at  Henry L. Brown Kooker Park to break ground and celebrate the start of the project.

Kooker Park is on East 20th street on the city's Eastside. 

The project includes all kinds of renovations worth $125,000.  A lot of people and groups have worked to make this happen- including, LISC Jacksonville and Operation New Hope, grant funding from ESPN and the NFL Foundation’s Grassroots Initiative. 

This park has been in Jacksonville for about 100 years and has quite a history. People are excited, saying these upgrades are exactly what the park needs.

Great memories have been made at Henry L. Brown Kooker Park over the years. The addition of major upgrades worth $125,000 could mean many more memories.

Harry Williams is director of the Athletic Association and president of Men In and Out of Schools.

"I was excited, but I was more excited about the opportunities that would lead from the field," said Williams. Those opportunities include more sports, and more kids getting involved.

Upgrades will be made to the scoreboard, concession stand, irrigation system, and a new multi-sport cage.

They’re big changes to make a big difference.

Williams grew up playing at this exact park, and said for years, the park was basically lifeless- until he and many others worked to revitalize it several years ago.

In that time, he's worked with as many as two thousand children. Williams said it's all about making a difference in their lives.

"The more they're in the park, the less likely they are to be doing things they shouldn't be doing. And that's our whole thing- keep them here for as long as we can," said Williams.

He couldn't be happier. But the end goal is far from over. His hope is to continue building.

"We want the new center to go here, so we can house our after-school programs. We also want to do a small version of a weight room," said Williams.

The improvements are expected to be completed by September.

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