Checking in on Jacksonville’s park development along St. Johns River

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JACKSONVILLE, Florida. – Park development along the downtown St. Johns River is one of the major programs planned for Jacksonville. The city has been talking for years about new parks and modifications to old ones like the Metropolitan Park.

Some projects have started, but there is still a lot to do.

At Metropolitan Park, the city hopes to bring it back to its former glory. The park has been in disarray since Hurricane Irma caused extensive damage to the docks and waterfront. Now the city is looking to redevelop the park. Plans are underway to spend over $1 million on the redevelopment.

A report from the Mayor’s Budget Review indicates that they are looking for a developer who could reinvent the park space to maintain the option for large ticketed events while providing a flexible space with a variety of active and passive uses. .

The selected developer would work with other groups, such as the Jesse Ball Dupont Fund and the Jags, who are also planning the development of the park.

There’s another side to the Metro Park redevelopment: it’s where Shad Khan and his development company, Iguana Investments, plan to build a luxury hotel and office complex for the Shipyards project. To do this, Kids Kampus and the fire museum had to be moved.

It is now near the Maxwell House factory and the headquarters of the sheriff’s office. Work is underway for the design of this park, which is now known as the Museum Quarter. The USS Orleck would eventually move to the area, along with the Museum of Science and History, as well as the fire museum relocated.

Further down the river, along the North Rim, major repairs were made along the bulkhead by the Civic Auditorium and the former site of Jacksonville Landing, now called Riverfront Park. The city’s public works department is doing more infrastructure work in the area.

Eventually there will be a new waterfront park which may contain a controversial ‘Jax’ statue and a private development – complete with apartments and retail.

Across the river on the South Bank, major repairs and upgrades to the Friendship Fountain are nearing completion. A report to the mayor’s office said further improvements to the area will not be ready until early next year.

There are also private developments, such as housing, retail and restaurants planned on the marina and the site of the former River City Brewery.

Downstream from the Friendship Fountain is Rivers Edge, formerly known as The District. It will be a major housing and retail development. They are currently working on the infrastructure, but the city will also create a park in the middle of the river. Design element discussions are currently underway. Discussions on the park’s budget are also underway.

Most of these are still in the planning stages and many of these plans could change in the coming year as the city will have a new mayor in July and city council elections will also take place.

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Checking in on Jacksonville’s park development along St. Johns River

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