Carlucci Sees Local Progress in City Budget

Carlucci Sees Local Progress in City Budget

After hours of debate and discussion at its meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 26, the Jacksonville City Council approved the $1.75 billion budget for the fiscal year 2023-24 – a 14% increase from last year’s.

This new budget went into effect on Oct. 1.

Along with the new budget came a new Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) with funding for citywide projects spread across a multi-year plan. These are both new projects and those that have carried over from previous years that are still underway. Included in the CIP is funding for extensive infrastructural work, including sidewalk, drainage and road installations and improvements, as well as traffic calming features, structural improvements, renovations to several public library branches, and new and continued construction on city parks, and more.

children playing in park

District 5 City Councilmember Joe Carlucci was able to advance funding for a park in the currently vacant stretch of land beneath the Fuller Warren Bridge where the Shared-Use Path (SUP) descends on the San Marco side of the river. Funding for the park’s design was originally slated for fiscal year 2026-27 with construction in 2030. The new CIP has funding in the amount of $2 million for design scheduled for fiscal year 2024-25 with an additional $8 million the following year. Though Carlucci estimates the project could ultimately cost around $12 million, he said its current $10 million funding is “a really good starting point.”

Carlucci said initial, very conceptualized design mock-ups include areas for rock climbing walls, ninja warrior courses, playground equipment and food truck courts, as well as access for public fishing and flat, green spaces for yoga or general workouts.

“It’s such a large space, you want families to be able to go there, bring their kids, grab some food from the food truck. People are going to be working out, going up and down the SUP, so they’re going to have a nice, cool circuit that they could get a good workout in,” Carlucci said. “That’s just kind of a really cool, big project that I’m excited to see get underway.”

Carlucci said another “heavily anticipated” project with funding scheduled in the CIP is the construction dollars for the Pine Forest Senior Center. Other projects for District 5 are, Carlucci said, in good positions in the CIP.

“What I moved up was appropriate and not too crazy, but then, all of the other projects were already kind of right where they needed to be,” he added.


Carlucci noted that additional funding has been provided for ongoing renovations of Friendship Fountain.

“That will help reignite that project a little bit because costs have just gone up so much. So, we had to put some additional funding in there for it because a lot of these projects have just gone way overbudget, I guess you could say, so that was one that was really a big deal for me,” he said.

By Michele Leivas
Resident Community News

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