Author Topic: Mayor, local leaders to discuss improvements in Downtown Jacksonville  (Read 11686 times)

vicupstate

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Re: Mayor, local leaders to discuss improvements in Downtown Jacksonville
« Reply #60 on: March 31, 2021, 03:20:25 PM »
So let me get this straight - the group has stated

 - Parks and the riverfront is a worthy investment and something we should do, and the cost will be material
 - The Sulzbacher Center is a worthy institution but perhaps not in the best place
 - Events bring people downtown
 - Lighting can always be better downtown

No offense to anyone on this panel, but in reality these are all executives who have demanding jobs. NONE OF THESE CONCEPTS ARE NEW.

We really couldn't articulate these needs without pulling corporate CEOs out of their offices in order to say this?

Didn't we all know it was just window dressing to start with?  No reason to expect there would be earth-shattering revelations. A chance to raise the profile of big campaign donors certainly wasn't going to be missed either.   
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Steve

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Re: Mayor, local leaders to discuss improvements in Downtown Jacksonville
« Reply #61 on: March 31, 2021, 03:29:57 PM »
Fair. I mean the CEO that I think "gets" downtown the most is Brian Wolfburg of VyStar. Not sure how you leave the guy who's company is spending 9 figures to move their HQ to the core of downtown out of this.

vicupstate

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Re: Mayor, local leaders to discuss improvements in Downtown Jacksonville
« Reply #62 on: March 31, 2021, 04:24:00 PM »
Fair. I mean the CEO that I think "gets" downtown the most is Brian Wolfburg of VyStar. Not sure how you leave the guy who's company is spending 9 figures to move their HQ to the core of downtown out of this.

Indeed. The same thing can be said for JWB's Alex Sifakis. That was my first comment when the project was announced.   
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jaxlongtimer

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Re: Mayor, local leaders to discuss improvements in Downtown Jacksonville
« Reply #63 on: March 31, 2021, 04:54:03 PM »
Fair. I mean the CEO that I think "gets" downtown the most is Brian Wolfburg of VyStar. Not sure how you leave the guy who's company is spending 9 figures to move their HQ to the core of downtown out of this.

Indeed. The same thing can be said for JWB's Alex Sifakis. That was my first comment when the project was announced.

I am guessing these gentlemen did not donate sufficient funds to Curry's campaign to get on his Xmas card list.  Pay to play with Curry is his MO.  Those with other qualifications need not apply.

On the other hand, maybe these persons were asked and didn't want to associate with someone who has already demonstrated multiple incompetencies (to put it nicely) and also might be the subject of a Federal investigation that could lead to some very negative results, i.e. rats jumping off a sinking ship.

acme54321

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Re: Mayor, local leaders to discuss improvements in Downtown Jacksonville
« Reply #64 on: March 31, 2021, 10:22:26 PM »
I'd say there are a couple of others that need to be relocated before, or at least with, Sulzbacher...

Alex Sifakis

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Re: Mayor, local leaders to discuss improvements in Downtown Jacksonville
« Reply #65 on: April 01, 2021, 12:09:26 AM »
Really surprised at any negative reactions to this... this is a proposal to spend an additional 100MM+ downtown, with an additional 8MM+ annually.  While the idea of spending money on these things might not be revolutionary, actually getting this approved and funded would be completely transformative... especially when you add on the effect of the DPRP program on getting Northbank adaptive reuse projects started.  And since the mayor put this committee together, and his chief of staff was sitting there and commenting favorably while the committee released their recommendations, I am pretty optimistic that the majority of it will get funded. The mayor catches a lot of flak on here, I hope that he will get some credit for things like this if they happen.  Just my two cents!

The working group made some recommendations.

https://www.jaxdailyrecord.com/article/curry-group-says-millions-needed-for-riverfront-parks-homeless-downtown

Quote
Recommended one-time spending:

• $70 million for Riverfront park, Downtown Riverwalk and marina projects over four to five years.

• $20 million to relocate Sulzbacher and for gap funding toward permanent supportive housing for the homeless.

• $12 million for Downtown events; public art; Jacksonville Jazz Festival; and Cultural Council juried art festival.

• $2.2 million for Downtown lighting survey and installation.

Recommended recurring spending:

• $3 million for supportive housing, services and housing vouchers for the homeless.

• $2 million annual for street-level beautification and maintenance.

• $2 million for Downtown activation fund for cultural events.

• $500,000 to streamline efficiency in capital projects.

•  $200,000 for support and expanding college and university-level education in the Urban Core.

Steve

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Re: Mayor, local leaders to discuss improvements in Downtown Jacksonville
« Reply #66 on: April 01, 2021, 10:03:00 AM »
Really surprised at any negative reactions to this... this is a proposal to spend an additional 100MM+ downtown, with an additional 8MM+ annually.  While the idea of spending money on these things might not be revolutionary, actually getting this approved and funded would be completely transformative... especially when you add on the effect of the DPRP program on getting Northbank adaptive reuse projects started.  And since the mayor put this committee together, and his chief of staff was sitting there and commenting favorably while the committee released their recommendations, I am pretty optimistic that the majority of it will get funded. The mayor catches a lot of flak on here, I hope that he will get some credit for things like this if they happen.  Just my two cents!

To be clear (at least from me): I have no negativity towards the plans discussed. I agree with them all......and have agreed with them for the last decade when these exact things were all discussed.

My frustration isn't with the plans, it's the process and the fact that we could have done all of this years ago. Literally we're repeating the FedEx commercial from 15 years ago:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/zNCrMEOqHpc

Additionally, this process has made it clearer than ever that nobody is in charge of Development. We have the DIA, but this process is separate from the DIA. Deals like the failed Lot J were negotiated by the Mayor's office (separate from the DIA). How can we ever hope for a plan when we have all of these shadow "DIAs" functioning?

Another example is the Main Street Bridge ramp teardown (in a separate thread). To be clear - it's the right move. But, as written the plan cuts off Ped/Bike access to the bridge from the most common route Peds/Bikes take to cross the bridge. I'm sure it could be restored as part of a larger plan for the riverfront and maybe that will happen. But to that point, why not wait on the demo until we have a concrete plan for the site? There are three national design firms bidding on the space - surely they can imagine the space without the ramp.

Finally, just as a callout - your development plans for downtown are stellar. Thank you for taking interest in downtown and I can't wait to see them come to fruition.

thelakelander

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Re: Mayor, local leaders to discuss improvements in Downtown Jacksonville
« Reply #67 on: April 01, 2021, 11:36:51 AM »
Really surprised at any negative reactions to this... this is a proposal to spend an additional 100MM+ downtown, with an additional 8MM+ annually.  While the idea of spending money on these things might not be revolutionary, actually getting this approved and funded would be completely transformative... especially when you add on the effect of the DPRP program on getting Northbank adaptive reuse projects started.  And since the mayor put this committee together, and his chief of staff was sitting there and commenting favorably while the committee released their recommendations, I am pretty optimistic that the majority of it will get funded. The mayor catches a lot of flak on here, I hope that he will get some credit for things like this if they happen.  Just my two cents!

While the administration has made some puzzling decisions that ended up hurting downtown businesses in recent years, it will certainly get some credit if it finds a way to dump $100MM in to downtown, before another administration moves in. The same applies to the gas tax proposal. While the U2C seems like fool's gold to the transportation planner in me, I'm still very supportive of a gas tax and wish this proposal had come through back when Mike Blaylock was around at JTA:

https://www.thejaxsonmag.com/article/is-a-gas-tax-increase-a-solution-to-jaxs-funding-woes/

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jaxlongtimer

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Re: Mayor, local leaders to discuss improvements in Downtown Jacksonville
« Reply #68 on: April 01, 2021, 01:01:06 PM »
Really surprised at any negative reactions to this... this is a proposal to spend an additional 100MM+ downtown, with an additional 8MM+ annually.  While the idea of spending money on these things might not be revolutionary, actually getting this approved and funded would be completely transformative... especially when you add on the effect of the DPRP program on getting Northbank adaptive reuse projects started.  And since the mayor put this committee together, and his chief of staff was sitting there and commenting favorably while the committee released their recommendations, I am pretty optimistic that the majority of it will get funded. The mayor catches a lot of flak on here, I hope that he will get some credit for things like this if they happen.  Just my two cents!

Alex, as noted by others, the frustration is with the Mayor's management style.  He only listens to a small group of well connected supporters, is not transparent or collaborative, bullies those who see things differently and seems to often have hidden and ulterior motives in mind that are not beneficial to the citizens who elected him.  This leads to well deserved cynicism regarding anything he puts forward.  After Lot J, JEA, etc. I would hope you can appreciate this viewpoint.

I fully support riverfront parks and public lands.  I also support the gas tax raise if the Skyway portion is removed and replaced with the Emerald Trial or similar projects.  As a Downtown developer, I would hope you would support these substitutions as benefiting Downtown far more than anything involving the Skyway.  His thoughtful and sincere leanings in these directions would have my full support.  But, I have to see it to believe it that it's not ultimately a scheme to give away the bank to the likes of Shad Khan, Petway or his other developer friends. 

Time will tell.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2021, 01:04:17 PM by jaxlongtimer »

CityLife

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Re: Mayor, local leaders to discuss improvements in Downtown Jacksonville
« Reply #69 on: April 03, 2021, 10:22:46 AM »
In all likelihood, this working group was brought in to give cover to a Mayor (that does not currently have a lot of political capital) on initiatives he and his administration already know they want to push for (post Lot J failure). This explains why Curry brought in people he knows well, not the myriad of other people that also could have provided valuable input.

Political strategy aside, these look like good asks that will push downtown forward. Whether you like him or not, at least he's trying....

tufsu1

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Re: Mayor, local leaders to discuss improvements in Downtown Jacksonville
« Reply #70 on: April 04, 2021, 08:54:05 PM »
Fair. I mean the CEO that I think "gets" downtown the most is Brian Wolfburg of VyStar. Not sure how you leave the guy who's company is spending 9 figures to move their HQ to the core of downtown out of this.

what - you don't think Ed Burr is a downtown savant?

and to CityLife's comment above - exactly!
« Last Edit: April 04, 2021, 08:56:35 PM by tufsu1 »

landfall

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Re: Mayor, local leaders to discuss improvements in Downtown Jacksonville
« Reply #71 on: April 11, 2021, 07:28:19 PM »
The working group made some recommendations.

https://www.jaxdailyrecord.com/article/curry-group-says-millions-needed-for-riverfront-parks-homeless-downtown

Quote
Recommended one-time spending:

• $70 million for Riverfront park, Downtown Riverwalk and marina projects over four to five years.

• $20 million to relocate Sulzbacher and for gap funding toward permanent supportive housing for the homeless.

• $12 million for Downtown events; public art; Jacksonville Jazz Festival; and Cultural Council juried art festival.

• $2.2 million for Downtown lighting survey and installation.

Recommended recurring spending:

• $3 million for supportive housing, services and housing vouchers for the homeless.

• $2 million annual for street-level beautification and maintenance.

• $2 million for Downtown activation fund for cultural events.

• $500,000 to streamline efficiency in capital projects.

•  $200,000 for support and expanding college and university-level education in the Urban Core.

I'd really like to see the old JEA building transfer over to a college or university. I don't think the brutalist type architecture really translates well to residential use.

Perhaps an FSU/UF presence in Jax or is FSCJ in expansion mode still? UNF and JU still seem to be digesting their satellite facilities they've opened in the last few years in other buildings.

Ken_FSU

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Re: Mayor, local leaders to discuss improvements in Downtown Jacksonville
« Reply #72 on: June 23, 2021, 07:58:10 PM »
Quote
Sulzbacher Homeless Center may move to formerly contaminated site

JACKSONVILLE, FLa. — Action News Jax Ben Becker has learned the Sulzbacher Homeless Center in downtown Jacksonville is exploring moving and a member of the city council says they believe it’s going to a formerly contaminated site in their district.

The possible location is the former Fairfax Street Wood Treaters plant which was an Environmental Protection Agency Superfund Site on the Northside. It was polluted for decades before it was finally cleaned up in 2020.

Full article: https://www.actionnewsjax.com/news/investigates/investigates-sulzbacher-homeless-center-may-move-formerly-contaminated-site/HYWQOHHHK5E2LNBDKQYGFYJCEI/

heights unknown

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Re: Mayor, local leaders to discuss improvements in Downtown Jacksonville
« Reply #73 on: June 23, 2021, 09:06:55 PM »
So move the homeless and those in need to a hazardous contaminated site to kill off the homeless and needy, and the people that work everyday to support and care for them. Very smart. I'm not kidding. If it looks like an apple I'll call it that, and even eat it. And that's what this looks like.
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thelakelander

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Re: Mayor, local leaders to discuss improvements in Downtown Jacksonville
« Reply #74 on: June 23, 2021, 09:30:12 PM »
That's pretty bad taste if the selected site is really in the middle of a historic Black neighborhood in NW Jacksonville. The optics are pretty bad. Honestly, I'm a huge downtown advocate if the choice is between keeping it where it is verses sticking it in the middle of disenfranchised minority community, I'd choose leaving it in downtown behind the jail.
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