In March, Mayor Curry convened three meetings of a Downtown Task Force led by businessman John Rood for the purpose of making short term recommendations that the Mayor could fund and implement before he leaves office in 2023 to improve the urban core. Scenic Jacksonville representatives attended each meeting. Among other issues studied, the Committee wrestled with the questions – how to create pride in our community, make downtown a destination, develop popular downtown activities, identify a unique downtown attraction, create an extraordinary capital project?
“Curry Group says millions needed for riverfront parks, homeless downtown.” from the Jacksonville Daily Record.
At their last meeting on March 30, members agreed that what Jacksonville needs is a first rate, destination worthy Northbank riverfront park, that would connect downtown to the river. Observing that the St Johns River is Jacksonville’s greatest asset, they lamented that we have failed our riverfront, turning our backs to our beautiful river. It was agreed that it is time we invested in our community and created a significant park that would be our big asset, our Space Needle, our special thing, the place we are known for.
Members noted that citizens are demanding a large, well-designed, and professionally managed park built all the river with trees, pathways, biking trails, playgrounds, marinas, food, music, event spaces with ongoing programing, laser shows, cultural features for the public. “Then we can return the Jazz Festival to its glory days!” “We don’t want to be the only city without an active waterfront”.
Activation all along the river would attract development next to the park and be economically beneficial for everyone. Ways to finance this project were discussed and members resolved that “the timing was right, and we can make this happen”. The group left the meeting recommending over $70 million to help fund the waterfront and designation park systems.
“A Riverfront for All” by Riverfront Parks Now,