Thanks in part to many individuals and groups in the neighborhood, a previous city right-of-way which ends at Hospital Creek is now a pocket park with a scenic vista for the Nelmar Terrace Neighborhood.
The park was a vision of the Nelmar Terrace Neighborhood Association in 2007 when the association applied for and received a neighborhood grant in the amount of $2,000 from the City of St. Augustine.
The park is located at the east end of Nelmar Avenue in North City and oversees Hospital Creek. The project manager for the association was Tom Tibbitts who held a number of offices in the the neighborhood association.
Commenting about the park, Tibbitts said "Its natural setting is complemented by attractive landscaping with a winding pathway leading to the scenic intracoastal."
Along with the the Nelmar Terrace Neighborhood Association, the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind (FSDB), specifically the young men from the Deaf Department honor dormitory program and the FSDB Dragon Flower Garden Club headed by Brett Sendler, the North East Florida Educational Consortium's Learn and Serve Grant program and the Johnson Scholarship Foundation also assisted with additional funding for the project and its completion.
Besides the neighborhood grant, the city worked with Tibbitts and assisted in realignment of water and sewer lines and built a new sidewalk and curbing which was necessary for the new public space. According to Tibbitts, it now resembles its scenic public space designed in the 1913 Nelmar Terrace plat.
"Our goal was to restore the creek side park, presenting an open vista to blend a view of the marsh from the canopied Nelmar Avenue. Many tasks were required. Asphalt and concrete were removed. The new site was graded and a sidewalk connected the adjoining sidewalks. Curbed edges improved the drainage. New
landscaping maintained and complemented the view while enhancing the privacy of the residents and the security of the students. Xeriscaped plantings created a wonderful natural area and community plantings brought together residents and members of FSDB," explained Tibbitts.
Tibbitts said that the "Optional irrigation supported seasonal conditions allowing neighborhood residents, students and faculty to meet together for community gardening. This spring’s further landscaping put the finishing touches on the excellent pocket park for our city’s current residents while restoring one small piece of our city’s identity."
The pocket park is an excellent example of how city, state and individuals can come together to make a difference in our community. Congratulations to all those who contributed their time, talent and money to complete the Nelmar Terrace Park project.