Nonprofit Builds Lake Trail for Military Families at Naval Station Mayport

Starting next month, sailors and their families living at Naval Station Mayport will be able to enjoy the first phase of a community-led project to enhance access to a lake at the center of a housing development at the Jacksonville base.

The $1.4 million project is the brainchild of Sharon Ellis, who started True Blue: Navy Families Benefactors in 2012 to improve the quality of life for Navy families. When the project is complete, there will be a mile-long paved walkway circling the lake, a canoe and kayak launch on the dock, and a concrete path and pavilion near a newly built playground on the lake’s west side, reported the Florida Times-Union.

After the Navy approved the project in May 2013, Ellis — who did not serve in the military, but is married to a retired Navy sailor — began to raise funds. The Armed Forces Families Foundation donated the playground and pavilion, and the Herbert and Gertrude Halverstadt Foundation donated money for a new bridge that is part of the pathway.

True Blue already is looking ahead to its next effort to increase support for Navy families. “We’re at a place now where late this year or early next year we are going to go out after some major donors,” Ellis said.

Dan Cohen
Dan Cohen
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