Council approves $2M for Riverwalk repair

Last 900 feet of Riverwalk costs $2M, bringing budget to $17M for full repair

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – City Council met Tuesday and approved an $2 million in funding it will cost to repair Jacksonville's Riverwalk.

The scenic walkway has sparked conversation the past few years due to its deterioration. Funds to build the last 900 feet of the Southbank Riverwalk increased the budget to $17 million.

Even though the City Council agreed on the funding for the last 900 feet, there is still one hold up.

The CEO of Crowne Plaza Hotel, which has a say in the construction, wants the Riverwalk to remain built of wood in the area near the hotel. The city wants to make it concrete instead. While it won't necessarily cost more to build with wood, maintaining it long-term could be more difficult.

"You have to be responsible and be a leader and say come to the council, which the administration didn't do. We took it upon ourselves to find the money and extend it and make it a beautiful, hopefully beautiful, walk on the Southside," said Councilman Matt Schellenbert.

Schellenberg said the council took it upon themselves to move forward.

"Quite frankly, when it became the attention of the council, they took the leadership role to find the money and we are going to build it to complete it and it will be completed hopefully before the end of the year so people can enjoy the complete Riverwalk," said Schellenberg.

Schellenberg said the Riverwalk will be built slightly different this time so it will last longer. He also said he and the council are ready to get the ball rolling so the people of Jacksonville can get back to enjoying the river and all our city has to offer.

"I understand the importance of it to beautify Jacksonville and the river so people can come downtown and walk on a beautiful facility and that's what the Riverwalk is for," said Schellenberg.

Schellenberg said the boards on the walk started to warp many years ago, making it harder for people to safely walk on it. He added this is something that needs to be done and said he and other council members are ready to move forward.

The city has until May 9 to get the CEO of Crowne Hotel Plaza to change his mind on having the Riverwalk rebuilt out of wood.

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Lifetime Jacksonville resident, journalist and experienced broadcast news producer with a passion for classic and exotic cars.