Mayor Deegan and Committee Push for Iconic Riverfront Park in Jacksonville

Mayor Donna Deegan and the Riverfront Parks Now committee advocate for completing Riverfront Plaza park in Jacksonville without high-rise towers. They propose a community-driven process and iconic design, citing benefits from similar projects in other cities.

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Mayor Deegan and Committee Push for Iconic Riverfront Park in Jacksonville

Mayor Deegan and Committee Push for Iconic Riverfront Park in Jacksonville

Mayor Donna Deegan and the Riverfront Parks Now steering committee are advocating for the completion of Riverfront Plaza park in Jacksonville, Florida, without high-rise tower development. The committee believes that prioritizing a community-driven process and iconic park design will provide greater benefits to the city than traditional developments.

Why this matters: The development of public spaces can have a significant impact on the quality of life and economic growth of a city, and prioritizing community-driven projects can lead to more inclusive and sustainable urban planning. By investing in public spaces, cities can create vibrant hubs that foster community engagement, attract businesses, and drive local economic development.

The Riverfront Parks Now Steering Committee has reached out to Mayor Deegan with a roadmap to "do it right, do it now and do it all" by offering practical and specific recommendations based on data showing that large public spaces can yield higher returns on investment compared to traditional developments. Natalie Rosenberg, chairwoman of the committee, emphasized, "Let's do it right, let's do it now and let's do it all."

The committee suggests abandoning plans for large private developments and city-developed restaurants on the Riverfront Plaza site, which is only slightly larger than Memorial Park in Riverside. "Imagine if Memorial Park included three separate restaurant buildings and a high-rise tower," the committee pointed out, highlighting the need for a more community-focused approach.

The steering committee believes that a world-class waterfront park can provide an immediate boost to existing commercial development nearby and should be completed within the next two years. They recommend tweaking the park's design to allow for its timely completion, focusing on creating an iconic public space rather than incorporating high-rise towers.

The Downtown Investment Authority is considering launching a new tower development process for the northeastern corner of the Riverfront Plaza site, which would take many years to explore, design, review, approve, fund, and construct. However, the Riverfront Parks Now committee suggests refraining from building a tower on the site and instead prioritizing the park's completion.

The committee cites examples from cities like Greenville, S.C., Memphis, Tenn., and Tampa, where prioritizing public space has led to exciting adjacent development and improved quality of life. They believe that completing Riverfront Plaza park, considered the "jewel of our downtown," within the next two years will bring similar benefits to Jacksonville.

Mayor Deegan and the Riverfront Parks Now steering committee are determined to see the Riverfront Plaza park completed promptly and properly, focusing on a community-driven process and iconic design. As the committee pushes for the park's timely completion without high-rise development, Jacksonville residents can look forward to enjoying a new public space that enhances the city's waterfront and quality of life.

Key Takeaways

  • Mayor Deegan and Riverfront Parks Now advocate for completing Riverfront Plaza park without high-rise towers.
  • Prioritizing community-driven projects can lead to more inclusive and sustainable urban planning.
  • Large public spaces can yield higher returns on investment compared to traditional developments.
  • The committee suggests completing the park within 2 years, focusing on iconic design over high-rise towers.
  • Prioritizing public space can lead to exciting adjacent development and improved quality of life.