Public Health and Safety Special Committee Meeting Minutes

 May 16, 2017

Immediately after the Regular Committee Meeting


Topic: Library and Parks Department programs


Location: City Council Chamber, 1st floor, City Hall – St. James Building, 117 West Duval Street


Attendance:   Council Members: Sam Newby (Chair)- Excused, Anna Lopez Brosche, Katrina Brown, Aaron Bowman – Excused early departure, Bill Gulliford, Joyce Morgan, Tommy Hazouri


Also: Paige Johnston – Office of General Counsel; Kim Taylor – Council Auditor’s Office; Jordan Elsbury – Mayor’s Office; Colleen Hampsey– Council Research; Philip Zamarron – Legislative Services Division


Meeting Convened: 9:15 a.m.


Barbara Gubbin, Director of the Jacksonville Public Library, gave the first presentation on health related programming in the libraries. Ms. Gubbin emphasized that the library offers services which exercise the mind and body. Jacksonville Public Libraries (JPL) offer a wide variety of materials, totaling almost 40,000 excluding database, on health subjects in physical and electronic formats. In addition to the varied health resources available for reading, JPL offers programs such as: Being Prepared and Having a Plan: Advance Care Planning, Caring for the Caregiver (“First, Put On Your Own Oxygen Mask”), Managing Diabetes, Managing Medications and Natural Remedies, Understanding Hypertension, Yoga and Tai Chi. Ms. Gubbin also explained the importance of partnerships in library programs, noting relationships with AARP, Community Hospice and others.

When asked about her vision for the future of the libraries, Ms. Gubbin listed a few things she would like to see happen. Adding a full time social worker or health nurse for health screenings and referrals would assist in meeting the needs of the community (the downtown branch currently has a part time social worker provide by the Friends of Hemming Park). Ms. Gubbin also mentioned the possibility of mixed use facilities (library and community center or library and senior living) which could be assisted by growing partnerships with health providers.

The second presentation was by the Parks Department and Daryl Joseph, Director of Parks, Rec & Community Services Department introduced the speakers. Kevin McDaniel, from Disabled Services spoke about park adaptive recreation programs. In FY 2017, over 3,000 citizens were served in City parks by Disabled Services Division partners, Brooks Rehabilitation, Duval Special Olympics, and Miracle League. Mr. McDaniel also described the Disabled Parking Enforcement Program which relies on volunteers to enforce disabled parking statutes. Fines from the parking violations are used in the construction of residential wheelchair ramps for those in the community who cannot afford the costs on their own.

Mike Sweat, the Duval County Extension Director spoke about the programming offered by his department. The Extension Office receives 65 percent of its funding from the University of Florida and the rest from the City and from grants. Some of the Extension Office programs include: Commercial Agriculture & Horticulture, Urban Forestry, Homeowner Horticulture, Florida Yards & Neighborhoods, Urban Gardening, Family & Consumer Sciences - Food Safety & Preservation, Financial, Nutrition and Relationship Education, Housing & Energy, 4-H Youth Development - Community Clubs and School Enrichment Clubs, Summer Day Camps, Overnight Residential Camps, Leadership Development Programs.

Keith Meyerl, Chief, Rec & Community Programming, spoke about recreational park programs. The Parks Department provides affordable and accessible facilities and programs, offers healthy meals at six community centers, supports improved wellness for people of all ages, socio-economic backgrounds and ethnicities, helps reduce obesity and incidence of chronic disease by providing opportunities to increase physical activity in a variety of forms, and provides a connection to nature which reduces stress levels and improves mental health.

Gloria Crawford, Chief of Senior Services closed the presentation with a report on senior center services. Ms. Crawford cited research which shows that older adults who participate in Senior Center programs can learn to manage and delay the onset of chronic disease and experience measurable improvements in their physical, social, spiritual, emotional, mental, and economic well-being. Ms. Crawford also listed some statistics (12.8 percent of the City’s population are seniors, 17 percent of them are food insecure) which demonstrate further support for the need for senior centers in the community.  The City’s senior centers offer special events and programs such as: Walking, Dance, Yoga, Nutrition: Education & Counseling, Emotional Health: Support Groups & Trainings, Safety Programs: Health & Safety Seminars.

Meeting Adjourned: 10:32 a.m.

Minutes: Colleen Hampsey, Council Research

5.17.17   Posted 12:00 p.m.

The written minutes for this meeting are an overview of the discussion. For verbatim comments, the video version is accessible through the PHS webpage or it may be retrieved from the Office of Legislative Services