Nassau County Planning Department has engaged Community Planning Collaborative to assist in the planning conversations in the American Beach neighborhood.
Current discussions are centered around the use and revitalization of Evans’ Rendezvous.
The next stage in the American Beach Neighborhood Planning will be a larger conversation around the “Crossroads” of Lewis and Gregg Streets and related public spaces.
The third meeting about the use of the Evans’ building, two lots to the south, and the lots across the street, was held on Saturday, January 27, 2024.
The presentation from the meeting can be found on the ABPOA website in the AMERICAN BEACH NEIGHBORHOOD PLANNING section
The community feedback offered at the meeting is below.
If you are or were unable to attend any of the meetings, your comments can still be heard. Please send them to:
Adrienne Burke Principal, Community Planning Collaborative
Elizabeth Backe, Nassau County Planning Director.
Feedback received from people in attendance at the Evans’ Rendezvous meeting on 1/27/24
The 1/27/24 meeting focused on gaining consensus around potential uses of Evans and the vacant lots to the south and west. The summary was that the Evans’ building be restored to the original floorplan with needed modern updates and a focus on programming the space take place. The focus on the vacant lots is on passive uses that preserves the green/open space without significant impact to the environment or with activities that generate noise or traffic.
There was general consensus on this plan of the people in attendance.
Feedback and discussion from the meeting included:
Discussion about how to define American Beach community. Mr. Evans Jr. noted that his father considered the community as a safe space for African Americans all over from Atlanta, Jacksonville, etc., not just immediately in the neighborhood. American Beach water/sewer district as additional community definition.
Member from community band and jazz band provides free events and would be interested in having free performances for the community at Evans
Ensure connection to Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor is included
Discussion about a trail from Burney Park across NaNa dune that was discussed with the National Park Service - there are no plans from the National Park Service to implement this due to the presence of gopher tortoises (threatened species)
Youth experience at Evans and ensuring young children can make memories there
Need to have a dedicated staff person to program events and experience at Evans
Interpretive signage could involve sound and other elements for children and sections for youth engagement
Suggestion about online/virtual components of sharing history and information
Children in community music programs could play at Evans
Interpretation and information outside should be available for when it is closed
Should be a circular drive or space outside to drop people off near the door
Consider lighting from Burney Park to Evans
Discussions have started with potential funding partners
Link with LaVilla in Jacksonville - performers in LaVilla would come to Evans for late night jam sessions
Questions to follow up on now:
What about public spaces for private events especially those that have potentially offensive messages? Can state and County funds support spaces that do this?
Could parking spaces across the street be blocked for private events in advance?
Questions for County and community regarding programming moving forward:
When will Evans’ be open? If there is not an event, will it be closed?
Will there be dedicated staffing? This is recommended by community
How will people reserve the venue?
BOCC Meeting on February 12, 2024
Community Planning Collaborative will be presenting information from the community meetings to the Nassau County Board of County Commissioners on Monday, February 12, 2024 @ 6pm at the BOCC Chambers, 96135 Nassau Place, Yulee.
They will share their powerpoint for the BOCC meeting in advance.
If you can, please attend the meeting to make your voice heard regarding the plans for Evans’ and the adjacent lots: