Balis Park is Complete!

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View from the lions looking south toward the gazebo. This space once was an intersetcion.

 

 

 

Renovations of Balis Park are complete.  This transformation happened surprisingly fast by city infrastructure improvement standards.  It took only 1.5 years from idea conception to completion!   The original idea was spawned by the realization that the roundabout north of the square would become clogged with traffic at the intersection of San Marco and Atlantic Boulevard.  This dilemma allowed an opportunity to address the other problems in San Marco Square, specifically an automobile dominant design in a pedestrian area.    Eliminating the intersection and creating a central park with one way traffic improved flow and increased parking and pedestrian safety, and created much need green space.

Since the completion of the park, the economy in San Marco, as in most of Jacksonville, has seen a boon.  No more empty storefronts, better flow for traffic, increased parking, bike racks, and a fun gathering space for all to enjoy.  We are proud to have been a part of this community project and look forward to enjoying the space in the beauty of Jacksonville’s springtime.

New green space encourages play, rest, and event space.  It also provides better drainage than the former traffic lane.

New green space encourages play, rest, and event space. It also provides better drainage than the former traffic lane.

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Before & After

No, this is not an interior design blog; it’s an engineering business website.  But who can resist a good before and after?  I was wanting more drama in my foyer.  The plan?  New paint,  new lighting, new artwork, and a showstopper stair runner.

Yeah, you see what I mean.  Boring, blah.Stairs BEFORE

While perusing Pinterest, I fell head over heels for Stark’s antelope.  Being Stark, though, I knew it would be pricey, so I searched for alternatives.   I plodded along, researching many brands and price points of antelope- Stark, Glen Eden, Couristan, Karastan, and Kane carpet to fill this bland space.  All the brands had beautiful options, but sometimes there is no substitute.  I really wanted the original.

I chose the Stark AX, which is 80% wool and 20% synthetic for added durability.  I wasn’t loving the feel or the higher pile of the synthetics and while the 100% wool was beautiful,  Frank at Carpet Concepts recommended the blend.

I am slow to make financial commitments.  It took me  months to bite the bullet and go with the Stark Antelope AX.  Seriously.  In the time  I was mulling over carpet Doug decided he needed a new car, researched cars, scoured the country for what he wanted, and after one failed inspection, found another car, flew to Texas, and brought home this.

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Back to carpet.  It was installed this week, and  I love my new antelope stair runner!  It adds pizazz without screaming for attention.

stairs AFTER

New paint (love the white walls with a slightly darker trim), new vintage lighting (below),  photo copyand my sweet runner!   I’m still on the hunt for greenery and artwork to finish the space.  But I am patient.  Clearly.

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Inflatable giant plum anyone?

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An inflatable giant plum serves as a music venue.

Ark Nova is the world’s first inflatable concert venue and a doppelgänger for a very large plum.  Created by Japanese architect Arata Isozaki and sculptor Anish Kapoor, (no stranger to crazy structuresinflatable or otherwise) the bulbous purple creation takes just two hours to blow up, and fits enough wooden benches (made from tsunami-damaged cedar trees) to seat 500 guests.

Aside from being sturdier and more portable than the average tent, the monster plum—or Italian brandy-soaked cherries, perhaps—is also said to have superior sound quality and will make its debut at Japan’s Lucerne Music Festival, which will visit several earthquake- and tsunami-affected areas around the country. And while it’s true that this interior shot (↓) does show a pretty amazing concert space, anyone whose ever spent the night on an Air mattress should know better than to outright trust the claims of anything inflatable.  (Article and images via Curbed.com)

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The interior of Ark Nova may be as beautiful as the music played here.

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Boukobza Benefit Concert at Southside Baptist Church – YouTube

Boukobza Benefit Concert at Southside Baptist Church – YouTube.

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Balis Park Groundbreaking 2013 – YouTube

Balis Park Groundbreaking 2013 – YouTube.

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He is Risen!

Risen!

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The sign says it all

Sometimes we say too much.  Simplicity rules.

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We all understand this, right?

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In case you were planning to take your wheelchair or baby stroller on the escalator.

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On the metro, don’t do this:

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And my favorite, restroom doors in a Barcelona tapas bar.

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Balis Park | The Central Park of San Marco

Rendering of Balis Park improvements in San Marco Square

Rendering of Balis Park improvements in San Marco Square

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Why do we need the Mobility Plan?

 A person in a wheelchair waits at a bus stop- no sidewalk, no platform, no cover.

A person in a wheelchair waits at a bus stop- no sidewalk, no platform, no cover, on an incline.

This person has two choices- manually wheel through the sometimes muddy or wet grass, or go into the street- to get to the bus stop.  How is this acceptable?

Regardless of how we arrived at this situation, the mobility plan offers a path to change it.  The plan funds street improvements and transportation alternatives for all citizens, not just car drivers.

Councilmember Clark has introduced a bill to put a moratorium on the Mobility Plan fees for three years.  Currently, the Mobility Plan is the only dedicated funding mechansim to make these types of improvements.

It’s a simple choice.  Do we want high quality developments, which can lead to improved quality of life in Jax?  Or do we just want any development “to get hammers swinging and concrete pouring”?

If you vote for quality, contact your councilperson and tell him/her to vote NO to the Moratorium on the Mobility Plan.

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Student Benefit Concert

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Our 15 year old son, Jacob, is a piano student at Douglas Anderson School of the Arts.  He will be performing in this benefit concert.  We hope you can attend.

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