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.