Groundwork Jacksonville Inc. and Swisher Announce Largest Private Donation for Emerald Trail to Date

Groundwork Jacksonville and Swisher, a family-owned company headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida, today announced Swisher’s $500,000 commitment to the Emerald Trail. The donation, which is designated to the S-Line Rail Trail segment, represents the largest private contribution to the Emerald Trail to date. In recognition of the gift, Swisher will be the presenting sponsor of the S-Line Rail Trail segment.

The 30-mile Emerald Trail will connect 14 historic urban neighborhoods to downtown, the St. Johns River, McCoys Creek and Hogans Creek. The Emerald Trail will link 16 schools, two colleges and 21 parks among other destinations like restaurants, retail, and businesses, with an additional 13 schools and 17 parks located within three blocks of the trail. Groundwork Jacksonville’s Emerald Trail Master Plan was adopted by the Jacksonville City Council on March 26, 2019.

“Swisher is proud to support the Emerald Trail, a transformative project that will help revitalize Downtown Jacksonville and be an important catalyst for social and economic development,” said Swisher President & CEO Neil Kiely. “As a family-owned company, we are honored to support programs and organizations like Groundwork Jacksonville that are making positive and generational impacts on the city we’ve called home for nearly a century.”

The historic donation is part of Swisher’s commitment to invest at least $1 million in community causes and philanthropic initiatives in 2023.

The 4.8-mile S-Line was an abandoned length of CSX railroad Right-of-Way that the City of Jacksonville gained possession of in 2008. The S-Line begins at State Street where it connects to the northern end of the LaVilla Link and continues northeast through Durkeeville and Springfield ending in Brentwood behind Norwood Plaza.

Approximately 1.3 miles of the S-Line—from 12th Street and Boulevard, near Andrew Robinson Elementary School to E. 21st Street—remain unfinished and will be completed as part of the Emerald Trail project. The S-Line will be the fourth segment to be constructed. The first segment, the LaVilla Link will open this year. Segment two, Hogan Street, will be under construction by early 2024 and design of the Riverside Link will commence by year’s end.

“Swisher is setting the example for other local companies to support the Emerald Trail,” said Kay Ehas, CEO of Groundwork Jacksonville Inc. “While we project 90% of the Emerald Trail cost will be paid by public investment, philanthropy is critical to our ability to keep the project moving and deliver a world-class experience. Swisher understands the positive impact the Emerald Trail will have on our community, and we could not be more grateful for their generous support.”