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Hemming Park receives $100,000 grant from Southwest Airlines on Earth Day

hemming parkSouthwest Airlines just announced Hemming Park in Jacksonville, FL as one of six organizations selected to receive a $100,000 grant as part of the 2015 Heart of the Community program led by Southwest Airlines and Project for Public Spaces (PPS). The grant will help Hemming Park reimagine and activate their important, but underutilized public space located at 117 W. Duval St. in the heart of downtown Jacksonville.

The six public spaces set to be developed, programmed and activated by the 2015 Southwest grants include:

  • Albuquerque, NEW MEXICO: Civic Plaza
  • Ft. Myers, FLORIDA: Cornog Plaza
  • Jacksonville, FLORIDA: Hemming Park
  • Milwaukee, WISCONSIN: 4MKE: 4th Street and Wisconsin Avenue
  • Portland, MAINE: Congress Square Park
  • St. Louis, MISSOURI: Strauss Park

These six Heart of the Community spaces were selected through a competitive application process. Proposed projects were evaluated in terms of preliminary work and preparedness, capacity for local impact, potential for catalytic backing and strength of the commitment demonstrated by local partners.

Non-profit organizations in each of the cities will administer the local grants. Partners include Downtown ABQ Main Street Initiative, Lee County Library System, Friends of Hemming Park, Creative Alliance Milwaukee, Friends of Congress Square Park and Grand Center, Inc. As a part of the Heart of the Community grant, each local partner will receive technical assistance from PPS to set a clear vision and programming platform to help activate their space.

Southwest Airlines and Friends of Hemming Park will lead the local initiative to transform Hemming Park into a thriving public space for residents and visitors by working with the Jacksonville community to determine a clear vision, innovative programming platform and high quality amenities for the space. The grant can also fund a variety of physical amenities, such as tables and chairs, outdoor reading rooms and information kiosks.

“We are thrilled to have been selected as a 2015 grant recipient with the Heart of the Community program and look forward to working with Southwest Airlines, PPS and our local community. With this generous support, we will continue to reimagine and reinvent Hemming Park as an exciting and inviting public space for everyone living in or visiting Jacksonville,” said Vince Cavin, Executive Director of Friends of Hemming Park.

Placemaking, an emerging movement with environmentalist roots, positions public space as an engine for urban development, serving as catalyst for building sustainable, healthy, inclusive and economically viable neighborhoods.

“Cities are more than destinations—they are places of human connections and livelihood,” said Gary Kelly, Chairman, President, and CEO of Southwest Airlines.  “Our purpose at Southwest is to connect people to what’s important in their lives.  What better way to do that than by helping to create more access to our public spaces where communities can come together.”

Strengthened by broad community participation and engagement, Placemaking incorporates the planning, design, management and program development for public spaces as a means to advance vibrant, sustainable communities. Placemaking strengthens the connection between people and the places they share. For the past half-century, common urban problems, like traffic dominated streets, unused parks and isolated, underperforming capital improvement projects have led to increased feelings of social isolation and division. Tantamount to the social benefits of Placemaking, the process minimizes environmental impact by challenging individuals to reimagine public space without reliance on major capital projects and over consumption of natural resources.

For more than 40 years, Southwest’s lead partner Project for Public Spaces (PPS) has refined the participatory Placemaking process. “The best way to build a sustainable world is by focusing on Place,” said Fred Kent, Founder and President of PPS. “Placemaking is more than how we design public spaces—it is a means by which people are collectively and intentionally shaping their environment and building deep and lasting community ties. Placemaking turns our approaches to land-use, transportation, governance, and the environment upside-down by asking people what they fundamentally need in a public space and empowering them to be a part of the development process.”



In its 44th year of service, Dallas-based Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV) continues to differentiate itself from other air carriers with exemplary Customer Service delivered by more than 46,000 employees to more than 100 million customers annually.  Southwest operates more than 3,400 flights a day, serving 93 destinations across the United States and five additional countries. Southwest service to San Jose, Costa Rica, begins in March 2015. Subject to government approvals, service to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, begins in June 2015, and service to Belize City, Belize begins in October 2015.

Based on the U.S. Department of Transportation’s most recent data, Southwest Airlines is the nation’s largest carrier in terms of originating domestic passengers boarded. The company operates the largest fleet of Boeing aircraft in the world, the majority of which are equipped with satellite-based WiFi providing gate-to-gate connectivity while over the United States. That connectivity enables customers to use their personal devices to access streaming music provided by Beats Music or to view video on-demand movies and television shows, as well as nearly 20 channels of free, live TV compliments of our valued partners.

Southwest is the only major U.S. airline to offer Bags Fly Free® (first and second checked pieces of luggage, size and weight limits apply), and there are never change fees, although fare differences might apply. In 2014, the airline proudly unveiled a bold new look: Heart. The new aircraft livery, airport experience, and logo, showcase the dedication of Southwest Employees to connect customers with what’s important in their lives.

From its first flights on June 18, 1971, Southwest Airlines launched an era of unprecedented affordability in air travel described by the U.S. Department of Transportation as “The Southwest Effect,” a lowering of fares and increase in passenger traffic wherever the carrier serves. With 42 consecutive years of profitability, Southwest is one of the most honored airlines in the world, known for a triple bottom line approach that contributes to the carrier’s performance and productivity, the importance of its People and the communities they serve, and an overall commitment to efficiency and the planet. The 2013 Southwest Airlines One Report™ can be found at

Book Southwest Airlines’ low fares online at or by phone at 800-I-FLY-SWA.



Project for Public Spaces is a nonprofit planning, design and educational organization dedicated to helping people create and sustain public spaces that build stronger communities. It’s pioneering Placemaking approach helps citizens transform their public spaces into vital places that highlight local assets, spur rejuvenation and serve common needs. PPS was founded in 1975 to apply and expand on the work of William (Holly) Whyte, the author of The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces. Since then, the organization has completed projects in over 3000 communities in 43 countries and all 50 US states and are the premier center for best practices, information and resources on Placemaking. and



Founded in 2013, Friends of Hemming Park is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to transforming Jacksonville’s oldest public park into a modern, urban gathering space that engages diverse communities and restores vitality to the heart of our city by providing year-round, family-friendly programming and amenities. Learn more at


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