Wes Howard – Park Ambassador

Wes HowardPark Ambassador 

Q: How long have you worked here and what drew you to the job? 

Howard: I’ve been here a little over a year-and-a-half, I started in May 2022. The job was suggested to me by a friend. The job got me outside and I didn’t like being indoors all day for eight hours. I enjoy being outside and interacting with people, and I can actually experience downtown a little bit more. There’s also a lot of networking opportunities. You can meet local business owners, the food truck vendors, and make friends and connections.  

Q: What does your job involve? 

Howard: My job involves keeping the park clean, looking good, taking care of the landscaping, and bringing in new plants while maintaining the ones we already have. Also, enforcing the rules even though I don’t agree with some of them, I do understand why they’re important. I do my best to make it a happy, fun environment because it is a park. That’s what parks are supposed to be. I try to play upbeat music and speak to everyone, have a conversation with you regardless of your background, age, gender. I can have a conversation or sometimes it’s just listening to frustrations or opinions about what can be done. I’m always an ear for all of it. 

Q: What is your favorite spot in James Weldon Johnson Park? 

Howard: My favorite spot in the park is probably the planters by the stage. That’s where we work hardest to keep our plants looking great. That’s the spot I focus on maintaining because that’s where a lot of people take pictures and it makes a good background for news reports. It’s a big complement to see someone choose that spot. I like that and knowing I had something to do with it.  

Additional thoughts: 

It should always be a public space because every city needs somewhere people can gather and have peace and safety. You don’t get too many of those in Jacksonville.