St. Johns River Park, located on the Southbank waterfront between the Main Street and Acosta bridges and home to Friendship Fountain is undergoing a major transformation. Through careful curation, a more vibrant year-round public space will take shape over the next two years. Built around the theme Exploring the St. Johns River, plans for the Southbank’s iconic St. Johns River Park and Friendship Fountain call for a botanical garden, a themed play park, a splash pad, concessions and fountain upgrades. The node will tell the story of the indigenous Timucuan people, Ribault’s landing in 1562 and the Ft. Caroline settlement, and botanist and horticulturist John Bartram’s travels through Jacksonville.
The park’s centerpiece, Friendship Fountain, will remain the focal point dramatically representing both the massive flow of the river and its’ ever-changing moods and patterns. The three existing rings of jets will remain, but the addition of new accent jets, lighting, and speakers will allow for production of spectacular water shows. The Downtown Investment Authority is further enhancing the experience through production of a fountain projection show and facilitating coordinated programming of the fountain, projection on the façade of the Performing Arts Center across the river, and lighting on the Acosta Bridge. Slated for spring 2021 completion, the fountain shows will entertain residents and visitors nightly.