Funds appropriated for Northbank Riverwalk Extension

Funds appropriated for Northbank Riverwalk Extension

Much needed cosmetic, structural improvements to be made

“We’re thrilled about the expansion of the Artist Walk  and the additional connectivity it will provide from  Downtown along the Riverwalk, through RAM and  on to Riverside Park and the 5 Points Shopping District.” Krysten Bennett, director of RAM

“We’re thrilled about the expansion of the Artist Walk
and the additional connectivity it will provide from
Downtown along the Riverwalk, through RAM and
on to Riverside Park and the 5 Points Shopping District.” Krysten Bennett, director of RAM

Riverside and 5 Points residents may soon see an urban park in the area. At the request of the Office of the Mayor, City Council voted, although not unanimously, to appropriate $2 million in Florida Department of Transportation funding and to re-appropriate over $3 million from the Northbank Riverwalk Renovations project to provide $5,425,000 for an Artist Walk Extension project.

The Northbank Riverwalk Artist Walk Extension project, as shown in the conceptual rendering, may consist of hardscape improvements such as sidewalks benches, lighting, fountains and trash receptacles to extend the Riverside Arts Market concept under I-95 from the riverfront to Riverside Park at Park Street in 5 Points. Improvements would be made to turn the existing dry retention ponds into wet ponds with fountains.

“We’re thrilled about the expansion of the Artist Walk and the additional connectivity it will provide from Downtown along the Riverwalk, through RAM and on to Riverside Park and the 5 Points Shopping District,” commented Krysten Bennett, director of RAM. “We’ll be exploring options for the Market’s potential growth over the next few months and are hoping to utilize the space in a way that enhances the experience of visitors to RAM and to our vibrant neighborhood.”

The bill, introduced Apr. 23 as Ordinance 2013-249 and then amended June 11, amended the 2012-17 Capital Improvement Program to reduce funding for the Northbank Riverwalk Renovations project and to increase funding for the Artist Walk Extension project. City Council agreed with the bill’s findings that deferring the CIP amendment to the next budget cycle would be detrimental to the best interests of the community because the FDOT grant funding agreement needed to be executed prior to the end of the state’s fiscal year on June 30, 2013.

The bill also provided for carryover of the funds into subsequent fiscal years to complete and maintain the new Artist Walk. The City’s Public Works Department is currently waiting for the executed contract from FDOT.

By Kate A. Hallock
Resident Community News

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