NOTE: The following letter was sent to the Finance Committee of the Jacksonville City Council following the release of Mayor Lenny Curry’s proposed Budget. The Finance Committee is reviewing the proposed budget and the City Council will vote on it in September, prior to the start of the fiscal year beginning October 1st.
To the Finance Committee (August 17, 2022)
Council Member Bowman, Finance Chair, and members of the Finance Committee – Council Members White, Carrico, Carlucci, Morgan, Pittman, Salem;
We are are writing on behalf of the Riverfront Parks Now coalition of fourteen non-profit organizations who have worked over the past two years to advocate for a vibrant, activated “Riverfront for All” in downtown Jacksonville that complement the planned private developments and overall downtown renaissance underway.
We fully support the FY22/23 Mayor’s Budget Priorities and we ask that you vote in favor of the Capital investment Plan (CIP) as proposed, along with the departmental budgets that will support these efforts.
The Mayor’s Budget priorities are critical to the future of our city: to attract people, talent, and business investment and create a vibrant and resilient 365-day-a-year downtown. We are impressed with the breadth and depth of how many areas are covered.
We urge you to approve the budget allocations and timelines for downtown and key riverfront parks and public spaces with critical connectivity to link them into a unified and iconic destination. Some of the key projects include Riverfront Plaza, the Shipyards West Park, Liberty Street Marina, the Riverwalk extension to the Stadium, and the renovations to Metropolitan Park and the Marina.
Other critical areas prioritized within the Mayor’s Budget are the bulkheads and drainage infrastructure, septic tanks, two-way streets, LaVilla, MOSH, the Emerald Trail, McCoy’s and Hogan’s Creeks, and the $50 million for parks across the county, to name a few.
We have a unique and rare opportunity to invest in Jacksonville for the benefit of generations to come. We can do this now and we can do it right if we focus on world class design, allocate the proper funding, and commit to execution. With our majestic St. Johns River, we have the potential to set a new standard for our riverfront that is Everyone’s Neighborhood, as we describe in this Op Ed published in June.
Thank you for your service to our city and we look forward to these projects coming to life.
Nancy Powell and Natalie Rosenberg, Co-chairs, Riverfront Parks Now
RPN Steering Committee:Ted Pappas, Susan Caven, Barbara Ketchum, Michael Kirwan, Barbara Goodman
Member organizations: AIA Jacksonville, Duval Audubon Society, ElderSource, First Coast Freethought Society, Garden Club of Jacksonville, Greenscape, IXIA Florida Chapter, Jacksonville Urban League, Late Bloomers Garden Club, League of Women Voters, Memorial Park Association, Scenic Jacksonville, Sierra Club, St. Johns Riverkeeper.