Land Swap between JEA, DCPS may benefit residents

Land Swap between JEA, DCPS may benefit residents

Better traffic patterns in the works

Whether swapping clothes, baseball cards or war stories, humans are inclined to exchange goods and information with each other. On Jacksonville’s Southbank, two well-known local entities are swapping land.

The land involved is a 40-acre area east of the offices of Duval County Public Schools (DCPS) and south of the St. John’s River. The site is near the former home of the Jacksonville Electric Authority’s (JEA) Southside Generating Station, which was designated as a brownfield in July 2001, and decommissioned as a power plant later that year. Brownfields are areas of land once used in commercial or industrial capacities that have potential to be cleaned up and redeveloped, among other things.

In exchange for giving 0.66 acres along Prudential Drive to the City of Jacksonville (COJ) and 0.47 acres to Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA), DCPS would receive 1.33 acres of JEA land adjacent to their current parking area at no cost.

JEA, working with other agencies, sees benefit in extending Prudential Drive through DCPS property and potential to replace parking and land area there. “JEA has a pending Request for Proposals issued for purchase of approximately 30 acres of the site,” according to Nancy Kilgo, Director of Government Relations at JEA. “The proposal due date [will] likely be posted in September following various agency approvals of a proposed land swap to improve access to the site and the area.”

For San Marco residents, the exchange could provide more efficient traffic patterns and improved access along Prudential Drive, Broadcast Place and Kings Avenue, Kilgo added. At the same time, traffic detours during construction periods could inconvenience local populations.

DCPS Superintendent, Nikolai Vitti, sees benefits to the land swap. “The swap may allow a connecting road between Prudential Drive and JEA’s 30-acre riverfront site,” Vitti said, “and if JEA approves the swap, 1.33 acres of site would go to DCPS for a replacement parking area.”

The swap would also give JEA flexibility in the area and provide DCPS with the same number of parking spaces paid for by JEA, Vitti added.

The proposed improvements involve two separate multi-agency agreements. One agreement, between JEA, DCPS and COJ, was approved by the School Board in early July, Kilgo said. A second agreement between JTA, COJ and JEA was considered in late August.

“Changes or concerns raised by the JTA or JEA boards might delay approval or require changes,” Kilgo said, “but the framework has been in discussion and review by each of the agency staffs, [including DCPS and COJ], for several months.”

The Jacksonville City Council will have final say over both agreements.

“Future development of the site that is complementary of area development should be beneficial to Downtown development, improve traffic patterns and provide value to the community,” Kilgo added.

By Nancy Lee Bethea
Resident Community News

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