The funding for the proposed re-building of the Jacksonville Landing didn't make it through the budget recently approved by City Council. Unfortunately it's not surprising. And that's the problem.
The budget process for any major metro area in 2015 is difficult. It's about tough choices…balancing city services and public safety and taking care of your taxpayers. But the responsibility of our elected officials is also about something more …
Like it or not, the Jacksonville Landing is the face of downtown. When the TV networks come to town to broadcast a Jags game, the blimp shows the Landing. When an organization chooses Jacksonville for a convention, the participants go to the Landing. When out-of-towners pass thru Jacksonville on vacation, they check out the Landing. And The Landing badly needs an overhaul -- and that's the opinion of the guy who owns it.
In the last five years, can you name any major development project that's provided a real point of pride for our city? I'm not suggesting there haven't been good things happening, but has there been anything you can name that's been a rallying point? The stadium enhancements are terrific but they're not in the heart of downtown.
We now have a local businessman willing to put up $75 million of his own money to give us the very thing we so badly need -- a spark, a beachhead, a project from which to start a real move toward the future. And it has the added benefit of being the focal point of downtown. But it appears politics will prevent it.
City Council, we know you've worked hard to get us to this point, but your work is not done. Don't pass up a chance to do exactly what's so badly needed. You may not get another opportunity.