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Jax Daily Record Thursday, Nov. 10, 201612:00 PM EST

Mayor Lenny Curry wants Hemming Park back under city management

by: David Chapman

The Friends of Hemming Park experiment could be coming to an end.

Mayor Lenny Curry “desires to take back control of the park,” his Chief Administrative Officer Sam Mousa today told a City Council special committee that for months has review all-things Hemming Park.

The nonprofit Friends of Hemming Park for the past two years has managed the park after securing a contract worth more than $1 million in city funding. The group came under scrutiny this summer for how it handled some of its expenses.

Mousa said Curry has a vision for the park. It could be a passive park or include significant renovations with different landscape and hardscape features, said Mousa. But the hope is for that vision to be formalized and presented to council in the next six months, before the Friends’ funding ends.

The news came as a surprise to the head of the special council committee and Friends’ leadership.

“I had no idea,” said Bill Prescott, interim Friends CEO, when asked if he was aware of the mayor’s decision.

Prescott told Mousa the decision puts the organization in a “precarious” position when it comes to keeping staff and overall “holding it together.”

Council member Greg Anderson, who heads the council committee, said he would like to see Friends leadership sit down with Curry to discuss the situation.


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