Jacksonville mayor promises septic tank lid standardization after Amari Harley's death

By: Jenna Bourne , Action News Jax

Updated:

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry said he plans to order the city to standardize septic tank lids at every public park.

It’s his first specific promise of change since 3-year-old Amari Harley’s body was found Sunday in an underground tank in Arlington’s Bruce Park.

“When we roll out our final review, I can tell you I am going to order that we standardize the lid process in Jacksonville, in all of our parks, and ensure that safety is our top priority,” said Curry.

Seventy-six of the city’s parks have septic tanks, and they’re secured in different ways.

Lids are made of rubber, metal, fiberglass or cement and secured with screws, bolts or padlocks.

When Amari died, there were only two parks in Jacksonville that had rubber lids covering their septic tanks: Bruce Park and Forestview Park in Jacksonville’s Harbor View neighborhood.

Two days after Amari’s death, the tank lids in Bruce Park were replaced with concrete.

Curry said Forestview is now the only remaining public park with a rubber septic tank lid.

Curry did not give a straight answer when Action News Jax asked why the two parks had the only rubber lids in the city.

“We have to do our review and see where processes and procedures exist. If they’re not standardized, why they aren’t standardized, and we have to strengthen those processes and make them better. And frankly, make them safer.”

Curry said Amari’s death has made it clear that there needs to be consistency, but added it’s too soon to say what went wrong.

“It’s heartbreaking. It should not have happened,” said Curry. “I will follow the facts and where those facts lead. If mistakes were made, folks will be held accountable, processes will be strengthened, and the city will move forward.”

Curry said he was not familiar with the October inspection report on Bruce Park, which has not been released to the public.

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