Vilano Beach Oceanfront Park Groundbreaking Ceremony
St. Johns County Celebrates Start of $1.8 Million Vilano Beach Oceanfront Park Renovation Project with Groundbreaking Ceremony
Today, St. Johns County held a groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate the start of the $1.8 million renovation of Vilano Beach Oceanfront Park. Construction is anticipated to be completed in February 2024, and the park will open to the public in Spring 2024, weather permitting. A ceremonial dirt toss was conducted, which included the following individuals:
- St. Johns County Capital Improvement Project Program Manager Jason McKay
- St. Johns County Public Works Project Manager Phyllis Thorpe
- St. Johns County Parks and Recreation Assistant Director Jamie Baccari
- St. Johns County District 5 Commissioner Henry Dean
- Vilano Beach Main Street President Linda LaCerva
- St. Johns County Parks and Recreation Director Ryan Kane
- St. Johns County Assistant County Administrator Sarah Taylor
- St. Johns County Public Works Director Greg Caldwell
The ceremony began with remarks from St. Johns County Parks and Recreation Assistant Director Jamie Baccari.
“I’m so proud to be a part of an amazing team that, over the next few years, will present the community with several exciting park projects,” Baccari said. “I am particularly proud to announce this project because it began back in 2007. The County, with the help of a number of residents, purchased the old Fiddler’s Green restaurant through a Florida Communities Trust Grant for $5.5 million. The Parks team made minor improvements in 2008, but then, sadly, the original building sat vacant and had to be demolished in 2013. In 2019, the Board of County Commissioners funded the completion of this project by allocating $1.1 million toward the design and construction of the final phase of this park. In 2020, the board approved an additional $700,000 for the project to complete construction, giving a final budget of $1.8 million. This project would not have been possible without the continued support of our County Commissioners, especially Commissioner Henry Dean, and our County Administration, including Joy Andrews, Brad Bradley, Sarah Taylor, and Colin Groff.”
“This property has a great history, but we’ve got a better future ahead,” Commissioner Dean said. “We should all share in this opportunity to celebrate what was and what will be.”
The park will bring another much-needed outdoor space for recreation and building community to the county, including the following amenities:
- Improvements to the northern walkover to bring into ADA compliance.
- Renovation of existing restrooms.
- Construction of a covered performance stage with terraced seating.
- Construction of new outdoor showers.
- Construction of changing stations.
- Installation of a new climbing play structure and recreation features.
- Renovation of the existing south walkover.
- Addition of ADA parking in the existing parking lot.
Matthews DCCM (formerly Matthews Design Group) and POND were the design consultants on the project, with E.B. Morris General Contractors, Inc. leading construction. St. Johns County will fund the renovation project’s $1,814,400 budget through Park Impact Fees and Tree Bank Fund.