Councilman hosts town hall to spotlight his vision for the Northbank

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Jacksonville city councilman shared his vision for the future of the city’s downtown riverfront during a town hall Wednesday night.

The meeting, hosted by City Councilman Matt Carlucci, drew some passionate comments about what to do with a portion of the riverfront. It follows Carlucci’s comments earlier in the month -- that he’d like the Northbank to look more like the city of St. Petersburg.

He says he wants a family-friendly design to draw people to the area. The plans show a connected system of parks along the riverfront from the Riverside community to the Shipyards property, with “layers of connectivity,” according to the architects.

“There’s been a lot of talk about it,” said Mary Kelly Moran, a Jacksonville native. “But I believe if our city can continue having these public meetings and involving our community, we can come to a consensus and build something really beautiful.”

Nicole Hamm is also a Jacksonville native.

“I remember going to Warped Tour in that park and World of Nations, and really having that waterfront experience is just something that is so important and essential to not only our wellbeing but our livelihood and makes Jacksonville a wonderful place,” Hamm said.

The USS ORLECK -- the Jacksonville naval museum -- would be docked nearby. Some say they’d like the plans to include a veterans park and the Veterans Memorial Wall, which currently sits near TIAA Bank Field.

“It could be a destination for military conventions and tour groups, coming to see the museum, they can also go see the memorial wall,” said Justin Weakland with the Jacksonville Historic Naval Ship Association. “It’s time to move it out of the Jaguars parking lot.”

The Jessie Ball duPont Fund is helping host a series of conversations on the development of the downtown waterfront, to recommend opportunities for the riverfront to make it an engaging, inclusive space for all, by all.

About the Author:

At WJXT for a quarter of a century, Mary Baer anchors the 5, 6 and 10 p.m. news weekdays.