Mayor, LISC Unveil Major Core Neighborhood ImprovementsNovember 24, 2014 7 comments Print Article
Partnering with LISC Jacksonville, Mayor Alvin Brown and City Council members today announced new investments to improve and empower neighborhoods for residents and businesses through a joint initiative called Renew Jax.
Renew Jax is founded on public-private partnerships to improve and expand housing opportunities, promote economic development and job creation, and strengthen families. The initiative will empower neighborhoods and improve quality of life. The initial projects announced today are located in East Jacksonville and Northwest Jacksonville.
As part of Renew Jax, LISC has committed to investing $20 million to support housing, business expansion, and commercial corridor revitalization. These private resources will help leverage federal, state and City funding. By partnering with LISC, neighborhoods including East Jacksonville and Northwest Jacksonville will see new housing opportunities and improvements for businesses to spur growth and stability.
In unveiling the initial projects under Renew Jax, Mayor Brown announced that the City, state and federal investment will total $15.5 million, including nearly $10 million in federal grant funding to remove blight, improve housing and support new sidewalks, drainage and water lines. The administration and Council will consider future opportunities to invest strategically in other areas.
“Renew Jax is a major citywide initiative with public-private partnerships that will empower Jacksonville neighborhoods, improve quality of life and expand economic opportunities,” said Mayor Brown. “LISC Jacksonville is a key partner, with a commitment to invest $20 million in our community to leverage federal and state funding secured by the City of Jacksonville. Starting with residential and infrastructure investments in Northwest and East Jacksonville, our goal is to renew Jacksonville – one neighborhood at a time.”
The announcement highlights the continued commitment of LISC Jacksonville to revitalize neighborhoods in need.
“The City of Jacksonville has been an important partner for LISC and our $20 million commitment allows us to invest in a mutual neighborhood economic and community development strategy aimed at reducing crime havens and neighborhood blight, thereby creating vibrant communities, healthier and safer neighborhoods, with new employment opportunities.,” said Janet Owens, executive director of LISC Jacksonville. “Through Renew Jax, the City, LISC, and our community development partners are moving forward on this agenda. Through our ongoing commitment and partnership, we will continue to tackle the challenges and help Jacksonville achieve her full potential.”
As starting point, Renew Jax is focusing on Northwest Jacksonville and parts of the urban core, including East Jacksonville, because LISC and the City’s neighborhood action plans have identified these as priority areas with the greatest needs. Work will begin in several neighborhoods, including improvements along Soutel Drive, Myrtle Avenue, Phelps Street, Payne Avenue, Avenue B, U.S. 1 and in the Robinson’s Addition and Newtown communities.
The Jacksonville City Council is a key partner in this effort, and will review legislation necessary to authorize the Renew Jax projects.
“I believe this initiative is good for our city as well as the community,” said Council Member Reggie Brown. “It's time we rally behind progress and maximize federal funding to help rebuild our hardest hit areas that desperately need transformation.”
Council Member Warren Jones said now is the time to follow through on drainage improvements needed in the Robinson’s Addition and Newtown neighborhoods.
"With this funding, we are finally making a significant down payment on many of the long standing drainage issues that have plagued the majority of older neighborhoods for several decades," said Jones.
The launch of Renew Jax follows recent actions by Mayor Brown to improve portions of Jacksonville. The mayor has reactivated the Northwest Jacksonville Economic Development Fund, and its board will begin leveraging new job opportunities and spark investment. The Fund will focus on small businesses, entrepreneurs and commercial development.
This month, the Mayor appointed members of the Community Wealth Building Initiative task force to help create new, innovative strategies to empower neighborhood economic development in Northwest Jacksonville. The task force is chaired by Darnell Smith of Florida Blue.
Today’s announcement begins Renew Jax improvements in these areas: