Mayor calls for change at Jacksonville Landing

Public discusses possible upgrades

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Mayor Alvin Brown announced a new vision for the Jacksonville Landing on Monday. A meeting was held to discuss ideas to change the Landing to make the shopping center more of a downtown destination.

Some of the ideas talked about Monday night were making the Landing a 24-hour business operation, bringing in new stores and restaurants.

"Other than the parking, it's the stores. They don't attract younger people. It's like an old people place," Landing visitor Alexis Smith said.

There was also talk about opening up the river and waterfront view at the Landing by removing the on- and off-ramps to the Main Street Bridge, and also providing more parking.

"I think that's a pretty decent idea," visitor Sierra Hauersperger said. "It would be better for people just walking by who want a nice view."

Brown said making changes to the Landing is vital to changing the vision of downtown Jacksonville.

"A critical location to improve downtown is the Landing," Brown said. "The Landing is key. It is strategically located on the river, it links to the north bank, a Riverwalk to the core downtown streets. But we can all agree that during its life, the Landing has not met its full potential, and downtown cannot improve unless the Landing improves."

Toney Sleiman, president and CEO of Sleiman Enterprises, which owns the Landing, agrees that changes are needed.

"People in Jacksonville want a vibrant downtown," he said. "We've been so-so for so long, and now is the time to change it and do something about it."

Not everyone thinks money should be spent toward improving the Landing.

"Downtown Jacksonville in general has kind of a bad reputation, and I think they could probably do something about cleaning that up first before they try to clean up the view to the river," visitor Bob Gaglione said.

No concrete plans for changes at the Landing have been made. Monday's meeting was mostly used as a workshop to share ideas.

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