Council delays proposal for Southbank Riverwalk funding

City Council members do not agree funding plans constitute emergency

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Problems with the Southbank Riverwalk project continues in Jacksonville's City Council after council members could not agree on an emergency proposal to approve $2 million needed to complete refurbishing the Riverwalk.

The debate among City Council Tuesday night was how quickly to approve $2 million in funding that was recently discovered to rebuilt the entirety of the crumbling Southbank Riverwalk.

Some members of council feel the issue of rebuilding the walkway is so pressing that it needed to be declared an emergency and be funded immediately.

One Jacksonville resident spoke out during Tuesday's meeting, upset with the council for the delay, saying safety was a big issue on the Riverwalk.

"The wood -- somebody's going to fall in that St. Johns River and drown, and then that's going to be a lawsuit against the city because that's the city Riverwalk," said the resident.

Council members, like John Crescimbeni, were concerned about the $2 million that was recently discovered in city coffers to fund the extension of the Riverwalk.

"There's no need for that. The public works has made it clear we have plenty of time before contractor gets to the area of Riverwalk scheduled to not be completed," said Crescimbeni. "So I think it would be prudent to have that go through committee to have any questions answered."

Tuesday night, the council voted not to vote on the emergency measure, meaning the funding won't be approved now despite the push from Councilwoman Denise Lee to get the issue taken care of.

"To continue to allow this issue to sit out in the community does the city and potential developers no good," said Lee.

The measure will now go back to committee, where finances to fund the Riverwalk will be discussed further.

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