Reactivating The Riverfront

Reactivating The Riverfront

3 min read

Free fitness programming helps residents rediscover Jacksonville’s parks

Riverfront Parks Conservancy (RPC), the nonprofit responsible for the activation of riverfront parks in downtown Jacksonville, Florida, retained the placemaking firm Biederman Redevelopment Ventures (BRV) in June 2023 to plan and implement free public-programming.

RPC became aware of BRV when the latter submitted a response to the former’s Request For Qualifications for programming. Nancy Marshall, a current board member of RPC, had worked with the firm’s president in the past and was familiar with the placemaking firm’s work. Some of the firm’s past projects included Salesforce Park in San Francisco, Calif., Klyde Warren Park in Dallas, Texas, and Bryant Park, N.Y., which were all programming triumphs that spoke to BRV’s capabilities.

“BRV's reputation as the nationally renowned park-programming firm goes without saying,” says Marshall. “BRV was in our sights when RPC sought assistance in the planning and management of our pilot program. Fortunately, BRV submitted a proposal when RPC released an RFQ. I personally had the opportunity to work with BRV as a Senior Consultant from 2017-2019, so I had firsthand knowledge of their expertise and professionalism.”

Riverfront Programming Gets Into Shape

Since solidifying its relationship with RPC, BRV has developed and implemented a fitness-programming series that was hosted at two locations––Gefen Park and Ford on Bay.

The programming included a 2024 pilot series of free fitness programs available to the public every weekend from February 2-March 10. RPC’s goal for the series was to show the people of Jacksonville that parks can provide greater amenities for the downtown area than just their beauty.

Photos: Klara Fletcher of Prattify

To bring this programming initiative to fruition, BRV project manager Kayla Hughes researched potential local programming partners with a focus on fitness and wellness. She then compiled a list of businesses, keeping in mind the surrounding neighborhoods that RPC and BRV hoped to attract. The final roster of partners included YMCA, Yoga4Change, Jump4Jax, Streams of Sounds, Dance Trance, and Par On Disk Golf (as an informational pop-up, not a full game).