Camp Chowenwaw Park trails up for upgrades

Kile Brewer
Posted 4/25/18

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – After a year of waiting, the Clay County will finally receive $400,000 from the state to spruce up the grounds at Camp Chowenwaw Park.

Like the Green Cove Springs dock …

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Camp Chowenwaw Park trails up for upgrades

Posted

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – After a year of waiting, the Clay County will finally receive $400,000 from the state to spruce up the grounds at Camp Chowenwaw Park.

Like the Green Cove Springs dock project, which was also approved this year, the Chowenwaw improvements were considered a budget turkey in 2017. However, the state found the $400,000 during this year’s Department of Environmental Protection budget process and identified funds to improve the trail system at the county-owned park.

According to a resolution adopted at the April 10 meeting of the Board of County Commissioners, the park will use the money for improvements to the park’s Jungle Trail Dock, the boardwalk leading up to the kayak launch area, the kayak launch itself and the main parking lot. With the money being granted by DEP there are restrictions on the types of things it can be used for, but the improvements conceptualized by the county all fit within the criteria of the grant.

Commissioner Mike Cella noted that the money was marked with a deadline of Dec. 31 for improvements to be finished, which, according to county staff, will be more than reasonable.

County Manager Stephanie Kopelousos said the county is already working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency on some of the areas of the park that were damaged by Hurricanes Matthew and Irma and the $400,000 will be used on some of the most necessary repairs.

“We’re working on the actual dock structure and the boardwalk structure,” Kopelousos said. “So, we’re working with FEMA as well but we’ll get this portion done and use the $400,000 by the December timeline.”

Commissioner Wayne Bolla also noted that the camp could use additional signage, citing a recent meeting about Clay County trails where attendees had discussed the lack of signs letting people know about the kayak launch and other facilities.

“We have a kayak launch there now but there’s no sign telling anybody it’s there,” Bolla said. “As you drive by it, it’s pretty tough to tell that even Camp Chowenwaw is back there.”

Kopelousos said the issue with signage at the site has always been a right-of-way problem with the current sign at the foot of the park’s driveway being the only thing allowed, in the same way that hospitals and other parks are allowed small roadside signs.

“That’s one of the jewels of the county – isn’t there anything we can do to highlight that it’s there?” Bolla said.

Kopelousos said that her staff was already working on spreading the word about the improvements made to the camp to a wider audience and that they would look into signage as a part of that.

“What we want to look at is some additional advertising, marketing, maps, those type of things that’ll bring some additional attention,” Kopelousos said. “But let us see if we can find a creative way to do something different up front.”

Work from the state dollars will be completed once the state’s new budget year starts on July 1, and work will be completed throughout the remainder of the year.

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