Historic District improvements part of proposed budget

Historic District improvements part of proposed budget
Depiction of proposed improvements to 5 Points intersection (Rendering by Waitz & Moye)

Tucked inside Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry’s 2017-2018 budget of nearly $2.5 billion are funds proposed for 12 capital improvement projects which will advance economic development and improve quality of life in the urban core, which includes the historic districts.

Among the projects designated to receive funds next year are several water-related projects, reaching from Brooklyn to the Fishweir neighborhood, as well as on the Southbank. In order of magnitude, the six projects worth $3,750,000 include:

  • $1.6 million to fund the City of Jacksonville’s share of restoring the ecosystem of Big Fishweir Creek; the Army Corps of Engineers project is slated for completion in September 2019
  • $750,000 to remove pipe obstructions from McCoys Creek near Riverside Avenue
  • $500,000 in the 2017-2018 budget for a $1.5 million bulkhead replacement for Willowbranch Creek from Sydney Street to the St. Johns River
  • $400,000 for a floating dock at the end of Post Street in Riverside (situated between the Garden Club of Jacksonville and The Cummer Museum) to be available to the water taxi as well as first-come, first-serve private vessels
  • $300,000 to install an additional floating dock to the existing water taxi dock on the Southbank Riverwalk at Riverplace Tower to provide docking space for private vessels on a first-come, first-serve basis
  • $200,000 to add a kayak launch on the Southbank Riverwalk next to the Duval County Public School Board Building

Also on the Southbank, two major projects are slated to receive some funding next fiscal year. The five-year, $8.5-million Southbank Riverwalk Extension and Enhancements project will receive $1 million in the 2017-2018 budget. In addition to design and construction of the extension, the project will include pavers, benches and other amenities.

Friendship Fountain will receive a facelift to the tune of $1.25 million. The project will include repairs to the fountains concrete structure (sealing, coating and painting) railing and corroded anchors, speakers and lighting. In addition, repairs to the pump house include grout and sealing roof cracks, slab, exterior walls, deck coating and nodes.

Quality of life improvements

Beyond efforts to activate the waterways and waterfronts in the urban core, health, safety and quality of life improvements are addressed through the $1.87 million funding of four Public Works projects in the historic districts, including: 

  • $750,000 toward the $4 million 5 Points Improvement Project, which is slated to modify the existing roadways to enhance pedestrian use and improve vehicular safety. Within this area, the improvements will impact Park Street, Post Street, Margaret Street, Lomax Street, Oak Street and Herschel Street. Improvements include turning Lomax Street into a one-way eastbound street, expanded sidewalk areas, reduced roadway widths for safer pedestrian crossings and the retention of the historic beacon that sits at the heart of the 5 Points intersection. The project completion date is estimated beyond 2021.
  • $536,529 to fund the construction of new sidewalks on San Jose Boulevard in accordance with the Pedestrian Safety Improvement Program criteria throughout Jacksonville. The project includes the construction of sidewalks in three segments: (1) Brookwood Road to Inwood Terrace, (2) Saratoga Drive to Granada Boulevard and (3) Phillips Place to Hendricks Avenue. Project completion is slated for 2019.
  • $425,000 for the design and construction of a biking and walking path on Children’s Way/Nira Street from the Southbank terminus of the Fuller Warren multi-use path to Kings Avenue in San Marco. The scope of this project will also include some intersection improvements for bicycles, such as bike boxes at Hendricks Avenue and San Marco Boulevard. Project completion is estimated for 2019 in conjunction with the Fuller Warren Bridge multi-use path project under the Florida Department of Transportation.
  • $159,000 for construction of sidewalks along Lakeside Drive from Herschel Street to Wabash Avenue.

If approved, the dozen projects noted account for over $5.6 million of the proposed $150.5 million FY17/18 Capital Improve-ment Plan (CIP) for 103 projects.

City Council’s Finance Committee and other standing committees met in August to review and debate specific line items in the budget. Council will hold public hearings on the proposed budget Tuesday, Sept. 12 and Sept. 26, beginning at 5 p.m. at City Hall.

The final 2017-2018 budget, as amended, must be adopted by City Council prior to the start of the new fiscal year, October 1.

By Kate A. Hallock
Resident Community News

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