Residents provide feedback on lighting fields at Cornerstone Park


An open house was held for residents at Ponte Vedra Concert Hall Aug. 25 to get feedback about a pair of proposed plans for improvements to Cornerstone Park.

Employees of St. Johns County Parks and Recreation were on hand to answer and clarify any questions residents had about the proposed projects.

The first of the improvement plans involved adding a playground area with anticipated start of summer 2023 if passed. The project would have a $500,000 budget.

The second proposed project, and the more debated one, pertains to adding lights to the five athletic fields (four baseball/softball and one football).

The lights project would require an estimated budget of $1.5 million, but the Ponte Vedra Athletic Association has proposed to offer a $1 million donation to help fund the project if passed.

“We are here to gather the feedback tonight and report back to the decision makers as to whether the project has legs or doesn’t have legs,” Kane said.

Residents both for and against the lights project filled the Ponte Vedra Concert Hall, including several children who came with their families and were wearing their uniforms. Some of which even brought their football or lacrosse stick with them.

Those families were there in support of adding the lights stating that it provides their children with more opportunities to play and practice.

According to PVAA president Eric Henkel, the growing population of St. Johns County has led to an increase in the number of families and children in the area, which has put more strain on the association.

“We’ve been working with the county for the last three or four years to find and create ways to expand our field capacity,” Henkel said. “Our interest is all about trying to find the kids a field to play on. Unfortunately, we’re now at a maximum level to where this past spring we had shut our soccer, lacrosse and baseball registrations.”

Those against the proposed light project are some of the homeowners near the park in the Seaside neighborhood.

They oppose because of the light that would shine on their property and become a disturbance as well as the negative affect it would have on their property values.

“The lights today are much more hyper-focused,” Kane said.

“We love the park, but not to have games all days and times,” Seaside resident Peter Murphy said.

To counter that worry, Henkel said that there would be a 9:30 p.m. curfew, which all games at the park would need to be wrapped up by. It will also continue to be in place that no games are played on Sunday.

Seaside resident Jerry Hill stated that he believes the growth taking place is occurring primarily in the Nocatee community and they are looking to Cornerstone and the other areas of Ponte Vedra for assistance.

“Why should our properties get hit because of the lack of planning in another zip code,” Hill said.