First St. Johns County park in 10 years to address overcrowding of local sports clubs – 104.5 WOKV

by Joanne Miller

St. Johns County in Florida is breaking new ground with the construction of its first park in over a decade. The park, located near World Golf Village in St. Augustine, aims to provide much-needed space for sports activities and recreational opportunities for local kids.

Ryan Kane, the director of the county’s parks and recreation department, expressed that this area of the county has been lacking such a facility for a long time. The new park, currently a mud pile on the Mill Creek property, will feature a multipurpose field, two baseball fields, two softball fields, and four batting cages. With an estimated cost of $12 million, this park will address the increasing need for space for families and sports clubs.

Richard Jones, treasurer of the Villages Baseball Association, emphasized the struggle faced by clubs in St. Johns County to find field space. The Villages Baseball Association, the only recreational sports club in the area, is home to over 400 kids, but only has three fields available for them to play on. As more families move to the county, the demand for recreational space has intensified, leaving many families disappointed when their children are unable to participate in sports.

The county revealed that all of its recreational clubs are operating at full capacity and cannot accommodate any more children looking to join a sport. Consequently, many families are being turned away due to the lack of available space. The situation is disheartening for both parents and children who are eager to participate in these activities.

In addition to the scarcity of recreation facilities, transportation is also a challenge for some families. The distance between the new Mill Creek park and the Villages Baseball fields can take up to 30 minutes or more, making it difficult for children to regularly attend practice sessions. The goal is to ensure that all children who wish to participate have the opportunity to do so, but the current circumstances are preventing that from being a reality.

Recognizing the urgency of the situation, the county is actively working on providing relief for these sports clubs. Plans are already underway for the construction of four additional parks to meet the growing demand. The Mill Creek park is scheduled to open by October 2024, offering hope for more space and opportunities for children in the community.

It is evident that the county’s commitment to providing recreational facilities aligns with its goal of accommodating the rapid growth and increasing demands of St. Johns County. This development is a step in the right direction, ensuring that children in the area have access to sports and recreation, fostering their physical and social development.

As the county continues to move forward with its plans, it is essential to prioritize the expansion of recreational facilities and address the needs of the community. By doing so, families and local sports clubs will find relief from the current challenges they face, and more children will have the chance to engage in the activities they love.

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