As part of the ongoing effort to develop the Emerald Trail project in Jacksonville’s urban core, Groundwork Jacksonville has partnered with the City of Jacksonville (COJ) on the Hogans Creek restoration project. Hogans Creek is listed as the #2 priority in the COJ’s Local Mitigation Strategy—right behind McCoys Creek—and identified as high risk for flooding and storm surge.
Hogans Creek is a 2.6-mile tidal and freshwater creek that begins at the CSX Railroad located just north of the S-Line Rail Trail and flows south to the St. Johns River at the Shipyards.
Like McCoys Creek, Hogans Creek suffers from years of pollution, failing infrastructure and development that has encroached on its natural flood plain. As a result, Hogans Creek floods Klutho and Springfield Parks, as well as adjacent streets, homes and businesses along much of the creek during even moderate rainfall.
COJ’s Master Stormwater Management Plan (MSMP) identifies 121 residential and commercial structures within the special flood hazard area. A number of these are critical facilities, including Florida State College at Jacksonville’s downtown campus, UF Health, the VA clinic, Duval County Department of Health’s central public health clinic, Fire Station No. 1, railways, and several Jacksonville Electric Authority (JEA) facilities, including water and sewer plants.
Groundwork selected environmental engineering and architectural design firm Halff and funded the 30% preliminary design and Basis of Design Report to determine the construction feasibility of the Hogans Creek project. Halff is partnering with Ecosystems Planning & Restoration (EPR), Alpha Envirotech Consulting, and Ghiotto & Associates on the project.
The stream restoration work will restore natural creek bed and banks and return a more natural meandering pattern to many reaches of the creek. The goals of the project are:
- Ecological restoration to repair damage and degradation to the creek
- Mitigate flooding
- Improve water quality
- Increase habitat for wildlife
- Create creek access for active and passive recreation
- Build resilience through nature-based solutions and green infrastructure
In addition to creek restoration, the project includes the construction of the Emerald Trail adjacent to the creek as well as improvements to adjacent parks.
Before any design work was initiated, Groundwork Jacksonville began actively engaging residents of Springfield, Historic Eastside and the Cathedral District, as well as businesses along the creek to discuss the project. Groundwork hosts regular Task Force meetings in which resident members get project updates and provide feedback. In addition, Groundwork and the design partners have hosted creek walks, public meetings and the Hogans Creek Fest to garner community input that is being incorporated into the preliminary design.
Key priorities heard from the community were to:
- Reduce flooding
- Protect historic park features designed by Henry Klutho including the Balustrades
- Road closures and additional parking
- Maintain or enhance the current amount of open park space