WOKV Interviews Metro Jacksonville's Stephen Dare

February 3, 2012 26 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

Metro Jacksonville has had the opportunity to speak with WOKV (106.5FM & 690AM) about the major issues facing the city of Jacksonville on multiple occasions. In this interview, Tiffany Griffith on First Coast Forum asks Stephen Dare to provide input about "growth management and development." As to be expected, Stephen gives a thoughtful and entertaining discourse on a number of topics including white flight, suburban sprawl and urban decay.

Suburban Sprawl (1:00)

Sprawl's Paradise: Beach Boulevard

Stephen Dare gives his opinion on the history of suburban sprawl and his belief that its continued proliferation throughout Jacksonville is bankrupting the community.  During this conversation, he ponders how constructing one less $50 million overpass could benefit the public education system at the local level.

Top Priorities for Getting A Handle on Suburban Sprawl (8:00)

Baymeadows may be one of Jacksonville's most culturally diverse neighborhoods but lacks synergy and vibrancy due to it's autocentric scale.

Stephen believes that you can't really live in the suburbs without a car while using Baymeadows as a key example of an unsustainable community. His suggestion is to go back to more simple and more capital based self organizing development pattern by modifying permitting and zoning regulations.

What to do with Downtown Jacksonville? (12:00)

Downtown's new $350 million Duval County Courthouse.

Stephen claims less city oversight and allowing the downtown core to naturally develop through private sector innovation and creativity is the right path.  He asks what would happen to the St. Johns Town Center if its customers had to pay for parking, if its streets were one-way, and if the jail was located in the middle of it?  If such a condition would not be suitable for the St. Johns Town Center, why would we consider this type of environment as okay for downtown?

Urban Cores & Urban Decay (16:30)

A. Philip Randolph Boulevard (formerly Florida Avenue) is representative of many urban core districts that were once vibrant pedestrian friendly environments.

Why is there no center to our culture? Why do our brightest young leave to go to more progressive communities? Why do we not promote our remarkable history?  Stephen suggests that we destroyed it by provides a historical summary of the decline of downtown and urban core environments throughout Jacksonville and the country, including vilifying controversial mid-20th century planner, Robert Moses.

Trips to Other Communities (21:00)

Sidewalk dining in Chicago.

Stephen believes that many of the trips made to peer communities by our officials have not panned out because the average citizens aren't involved in the decision making process.

Bringing Diversity to the Table(23:00)

Downtown's Hemming Plaza.

Stephen suggests that community buy-in is not necessary to move downtown and the city forward.  In short, here is his advice for the City, concerning downtown: "Get the hell out of it and it will come back by itself."

White Flight in Jacksonville (25:30)

Jacksonville Public Library Special Collections Department Archives

Stephen provides his opinion on White flight, Civil Rights, and Racism in Jacksonville.  He claims Jacksonville has the longest history of "stupid and boneheaded" decisions concerning downtown development.

Recommendations for Moving Downtown Revitalization Forward (29:00)

Above Downtown Jacksonville.

Stephen provides his list of recommendations, including removing parking meters, reconnecting adjacent neighborhoods, and modifying zoning regulations, for revitalizing downtown Jacksonville.

Thoughts on Mayor Alvin Brown (30:00)

Stephen believes that Mayor Alvin Brown is doing a good job but needs to broaden the number of people who are making decisions regarding downtown development.  He claims nothing will change if the same "nifty-fifty" continue to drive the decision making process.

If you've followed Metro Jacksonville throughout the years, you won't be surprised to discover that Stephen makes some pretty controversial statements during this interview that are sure to promote discussion.  Enjoy.

Interview outline written by Ennis Davis