Congratulations to John Peyton on winning another 4 years here as the Mayor Prince of Duval county. Granted, he didn't really have any opposition (thank you Bruce Barcelo Mike Pillsbury Doughboy Hightower), but that is besides the point. He is our Little Prince for four more years and if we don't like it, we can go sit in the corner - for about 1,460 days.
As every mayor does in his 2nd term here in Jacksonville, Mr. Peyton will be looking for something to be his legacy project. For John Delaney, his legacy project was the Better Jacksonville Plan - a resounding success with the citizens of the city. If Mr. Peyton would like to top his predecessor, he will need something far more bold. Something far more universally attractive. Something spectacular. And we have just the project for him. It has to do with the new courthouse.
Now, we know what you might be saying. "Hey, wasn't the Mayor suppose to do the courthouse in his FIRST four years?" Well, yes, technically he was. But as you know construction takes time and even though 4 years have passed and not a single piece of dirt has been turned over to make way for the courthouse, the mayor has thought about it AND he has talked about it.
But getting back to our idea. We are recommending that the mayor call off the whole project. No, we don't mean just stop everything in its tracks like he did two years ago with Cannon Design...we are talking kill the entire project. As in "no more new courthouse".
Why would he do this? Well, we think a courthouse is just too serious of a project for our Little Prince. The courthouse budget was just really big and it was probably all really confusing to Mr. Peyton. In any case, our mayor is more of a lighthearted little fellow. If you'll think back to a little over a year ago when the mayor revealed his ideas for redeveloping downtown, it involved things such as hot dog carts, fountains for the kiddies to play in, and merry-go-rounds.
So what is more bold, more attractive, more spectacular and at the same time a lot more "lighter-hearted" than the Better Jacksonville Plan? We have a few suggestions that can take the place of that boring old courthouse.
1 - Close your eyes and envision this...a gigantic go-cart racing track complex. It could be one of the best in the world - right in the heart of downtown Jacksonville. And it jives perfectly with the backwater images that the politicians in this area like to portray via their political maneuvers (see Brad Thoburn and 1st Timothy).
2 - Two words: Affordable Housing. Two more words: Trailer Park. That's right - turn those six vacant city blocks into a massive trailer park. Now THAT would be downtown urban living at it's finest.
3 - This last suggestion would endear Mr. Peyton to the hearts of Mark Rimmer and Jim Bailey (the local parking gods in case you didn't know it). More surface parking lots. The masses love to park their vehicles so the universal appeal would be there automatically. And as Mr. Rimmer and Baily could teach Peyton - there is definitely money in downtown parking in Jacksonville.
All of these "legacy projects" are much more simple for Mr. Peyton than that pesky courthouse (less negative PR risk as well). We congratulate him and wish him the best of luck over the next 4 years.