The Urban Core Thanks Bill Killingsworth

September 30, 2011 55 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

While the Alvin Brown administration continues to move forward with a massive reorganization of City Hall, the urban core would like to thank former planning director Bill Killingsworth for his service to the City of Jacksonville and encourages the Brown Administration to not only reconsider the role of this brilliant man in the future of our city, but to follow through with the innovative practices Killingsworth brought to our community.

Joint Press Release

As community organizations representing the urban core and surrounding neighborhoods, we would like to first express our gratitude to Bill Killingsworth for the fantastic job he has done leading our city.  Bill has a rare combination of talents: visionary, diplomat, manager, and trusted friend.  In short, he is one of the few individuals with a vision for the future and an ability to complete it.  He will be sorely missed.

We respectfully ask that Mayor Brown reconsider his decision to accept Bill's resignation.  Leaders of Bill's caliber are hard to replace.


SMPS, SPAR, Preservation SOS, Sustainable Springfield, SAMBA Springfield Area Merchants and Business Association, Metro Jacksonville

Five Killingsworth Projects The Alvin Brown Adminstration Would Be Smart To Follow Through

In addition to the press release above, here are five innovative Killingsworth led planning projects that the Alvin Brown Administration would be smart to implement as a part of their plan to take Jacksonville to the next level.

1. Visioning Plans

Job creation is Mayor Brown's top priority.  However, creating jobs and true economic development is more than dredging the river for JAXPORT or revitalizing downtown.  Its also finding the right strategy and policies to stimulate redevelopment and infill in distressed neighborhoods throughout the city.  One of Bill Killingsworth's first acts as planning director was to develop and finalize a massive community visioning effort for the entire city.  The community has already indicated what it wants Jacksonville to become.  What separates us today from the Charlottes, Indianapolis' and Austins of the world is our tendency to never take steps of implementation.  Killingsworth has provided the path but wasn't given the necessary time to see it through.  The community needs to make sure these plans are followed through.

2. Mothballing Legislation

Houses built prior to 1950 lost 12% of value (101k in 2011, 115k in 2010 total of 1303 houses)

Houses built from 1950-2000 lost 14% of value (217k vs 252k, total of 107 houses)

Houses built 2000 and later lost 23% of value (133k vs. 173k).

This is based on data pulled the week before the mothballing city hall meeting. It includes all buildings, including commercial, in historic springfield

For years, Jacksonville had become a place that completely disrespected its history and culture in favor of being a sprawling anyplace, USA.  This was clearly evident in the Springfield Historic District, where code enforcement routinely demolished the historical significant building stock that has made cities like Savannah and Charleston destinations instead of pass throughs and Riverside/Avondale one of the country's top 10 neighborhoods.  Recently, Bill Killingsworth has worked with the community to create legislation that stops the destruction of historic neighborhoods such as Springfield.  During his campaign, Mayor Brown stressed that Jacksonville needs to draw upon innovative ideas and best practices from successful municipalities across the country to help turn the corner.  The Mothball Legislation is an example of this.

3. Context Sensitive Streets

Jacksonville routinely ranks as one of the deadliest cities for pedestrians and bicyclists.  Our neighborhoods have been decimated by past leadership that felt the need to rip apart communities for automobile movement and capacity instead of human experience.  Listening to the community, Killingsworth's Context Sensitive Streets project sought to find creative and affordable design solutions to improve our existing and future streetscapes in a manner that promoted mobility choice and sustainable neighborhoods through Jacksonville.  Now Jacksonville is now in a position to become a leader in implementing sustainable transportation infrastructure in Florida thanks to Killingsworth's vision and tendency to implement change instead of accepting status quo.

4. 2030 Mobility Plan & Fee

Beyond the immediate financial challenges facing Jacksonville, Mayor Brown's long-range goals for our city include landing an NBA team, light rail transit and a thriving downtown.  Luckily, he's walked in a job where Bill Killingsworth's innovative and awarding winning mobility plan provides the administration with the financial mechanism to make rail transit a short term goal.  Sure to be replicated across the United States, the 2030 Mobility Plan integrates land use and transportation investments in a manner that pays for the rail corridors, economic development, job creation and sustainable revitalization that Mayor Brown would like to see in downtown, the urban core and the rest of the city.

5. Citywide Zoning Code Rewrite

"Killingsworth said the city should embrace its unique position in the region as an urban area and begin building developments that attract people who want to live in a city environment. As the person in charge of administering and interpreting the city's comprehensive plan and zoning code, he is ushering in a new era where old, aging areas are and will be re-purposed into new high-density developments.

The Mayor has stated multiple times that he wants Jacksonville to become a destination spot and not a pass-through to other communities.  This is easier said then done and investing in sexy gimmick projects won't get us there.  However, a rewrite of the city's low density sprawl inducing zoning codes and land use regulations will enable Jacksonville to build upon its unique natural, physical and cultural assets, while also strengthening the city's tax base and environments that people desire to live, work and play in.

Jacksonville is a better place today because of the policies and plans that were implemented or jump started under the leadership of Bill Killingsworth, who became the Director of City of Jacksonville's Planning and Development Department in August 2009.  It is the hope of most urban core advocates that He be retained in that position, or in a similar role under the new reorganization.  Anyone else who is called upon to replace him will have huge shoes to fill.  The urban core would like to thank Bill Killingsworth for his 20 years of public service to the City of Jacksonville and wishes him luck on his future endeavors.