Brushing Off The Dust: 20 Affordable Fixes For Downtown

August 12, 2013 21 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

Following the City Council Finance Committee's recent decision to remove $9 million intended for downtown revitalization, many are ready to label Mayor Alvin Brown's efforts to revitalize the city's heart a bust. In May 2011, we asked Metro Jacksonville readers for cost-effective ideas that city leaders could get behind that could spur downtown revitalization. With Mayor Alvin Brown's two years of efforts unable to bare fruit so far, perhaps it's time to dust off a few of these ideas and actually implement them?

Want bicycle lanes for free? Try coordinating their stripping with COJ Public Works and FDOT resurfacing projects.

16. Preserve the remaining building stock. Empty buildings are better than surface parking lots and abandoned lots for a walkable environment.

17. Extend last call for downtown bars to 3 or 4 a.m.

18. Adjust zoning so that residential and commercial can more easily co-exist without seeking exceptions. The urban core should be dense, and that means mixed uses. The more hoops you make owners jump through, the less you will get accomplished.

19. Plan, view, and market Downtown as a part of a larger urban core that includes adjacent neighborhoods. United they stand, divided they fall.

One easy way to reconnect the urban core is to coordinate the long-term development of private- and public-sector projects in a manner in which every small project ultimately leads to the development of a vibrant, walkable, and borderless urban district.

20. Whatever you do, apply this concept:  "Cluster Complementing Uses Within A Compact Setting." Pedestrian-level vibrancy can only be created by putting things closely together so they can feed off one another. This is where we've failed the most in Downtown during the last 30 years.


Hey, you gotta start somewhere. These are relatively cheap ideas that could be in place within 90 days if our Mayor and city council would be pro active. The time is now city leaders. What's it gonna be?

You wanna just watch what's left of downtown die a slow and painful death? It's not up to me, it's up to you, the city leaders to lead. That's what we hired you for, right?

Even if these proposals don't work at least we can say that we, as a community, tried something a little outside the box for a change. The box we are in now ain't working.

We have little to lose and much to gain.
Quote by Metro Jacksonville discussion board member marksjax

Compiled list of suggestions by Metro Jacksonville discussion board contributors in May 2011.

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