The Northeast Florida Clubs of Rotary International, representing 1,400 members locally, have committed $250,000 to support the design of the planned Emerald Trail Riverside Link.
The 2.3-mile Riverside Link will connect the Emerald Trail to the Southbank Riverwalk and San Marco, via the new Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) shared use path across the Fuller Warren Bridge, the Northbank Riverwalk, Riverside Park and McCoys Creek.
The Rotary Clubs’ Partnership will be the presenting sponsor of a half-mile section of the Riverside Link from the Riverside Arts Market (RAM) to Memorial Park. Dedicated on Christmas Day 1924, Memorial Park also was made possible by the Rotary Clubs to honor those who gave their lives to protect American freedom.
According to past District Governor Tommy Grimes, the Emerald Trail’s goals align with each Rotary focus area: Peace and Conflict Prevention/Resolution; Disease Prevention and Treatment; Water and Sanitation; Maternal and Child Health; Basic Education and Literacy; Economic and Community Development; and Protecting the Environment.
“The Emerald Trail has the potential to be a singularly transformational project for all of us who live, work and retire in the Jacksonville area. Rotary’s goal of ‘doin’ good in our community and in the world,’ and our legacy of leadership will set an example for others to join in supporting the Emerald Trail,” says Grimes.
According to Kay Ehas, CEO of Groundwork Jacksonville, the city’s nonprofit partner in building the Emerald Trail, the Riverside Link will be the third trail segment to be built, linking RAM to McCoys Creek. The design process is expected to begin early next year. “We are delighted that area Rotary Clubs have come together to support the Trail in such a significant way. Private support like Rotary’s generous gift not only strengthens our momentum toward completion by the end of the decade, but also helps to ensure the integrity of design, and funds enhancements that will create a world-class experience,” said Ehas.
Like other trail systems across the country, Groundwork anticipates the Emerald Trail to be a catalyst for significant investment, job creation, and economic opportunities. “The investment that other cities have made in urban trail systems have shown remarkable returns on investment,” says Grimes. “From a business point of view, the Emerald Trail is a winner. From a Rotarian’s point of view, this is what we want to do – to leave the Northeast Florida area and its citizens in a better place.”
About the Rotary Clubs of Jacksonville
Rotary International and its worldwide membership of 1.5 million professional and business leaders is dedicated to leadership and community service and is the first service club in the world. For 40 years Rotary has promised to eradicate Polio from our planet and is close: 99% of our world is Polio free with only two countries reporting cases. Learn more at www.rotary.org. To learn more about the 24 Rotary clubs in the Jacksonville area, call 904.626.5029.