Brand new Southbank Riverwalk to open

Brand new Southbank Riverwalk to open

Get out the ticker tape and blow up the balloons, the City of Jacksonville is planning to celebrate the reopening of its iconic Southbank Riverwalk.

Although a precise date was not available by press time, city officials anticipate an official ribbon-cutting ceremony on the new concrete walkway would likely be held the second or third week of February.
Details about the new Riverwalk include:
Full length is 1-1/4 mile
It varies in width from 12 feet to as much as 90 feet wide in some locations
The project, contracted to Haskell Co., remains on budget at $17 million
Approximately 6,346 cubic yards of concrete was used in the project
Locations for the river taxi pick-up/drop-off spots was still being determined

In addition, when asked whether the final project matched an artist’s conception of the Riverwalk, including unique shade sails and creative lighting, Debbie Delgado, the city’s public communications officer, offered the following response:

“The reflectivity illustrated within the artist renderings of the shade sails properly depicts the intended night-time illumination through a highly reflective, Teflon shade material. This material will stand up to the diversity of elements and exposure to the weather as a river side development. While offering a sculptural daytime shade system, with integrated seating, these “sails” will provide a “screen” for a multitude of color up-lights. They can respond to City activities such as the Jaguar games (teal lighting), Florida/Georgia games (various school colors) and provide an element of energy through night lighting.

“The pavers are multi-colored and the pattern depicted within the illustrations matches the pattern in the intended design. The illustrations again depict an evening atmosphere and are artistically enhanced to illustrate various site lighting, i.e., up-lighting, color LED lighting, pedestrian lighting.

“The design intent is to create an activated destination through lighting, color, paver pattern design, which all lend itself to a riverfront destination opportunity. The movement within the paver patterns reflects the constant movement of the St. John’s River.”

Construction of the all new Riverwalk began in September 2013. It replaces the original version, built of wooden planks in the 1980s. Over time the planks and support structures began to decay and eventually forced city officials to close sections out of concerns for public safety.

District 4 Councilman Don Redman, who was injured in a bicycling accident on the Riverwalk in 2009, previously said he’s hopeful the Southbank Riverbank will be as popular as the Northbank version.

Stretching from the Museum of Science and History to the Duval County Public Schools building, the walkway will feature 53,000 square feet of colored brick pavers, new steel guardrails and improved lighting, such as LED light poles and illumination in the walkway itself.

A related event is the Southbank Call to Artists contest. Daniel Austin of the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville said a winning artist will be chosen by the Riverwalk’s re-opening, however, the project itself may not necessarily be finished by that date.

By Greg Walsh
Resident Community News

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