Mayor responds on Liberty Street collapse


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – It has been 10 days since the power went out for some people in downtown Jacksonville after a portion of Liberty Street collapsed into the St. Johns River.

Mayor Alvin Brown responded Wednesday to questions about the collapse and whether the city is liable since part of the same street collapsed three years ago after being weakened by an over-sized crane.

Brown said he can't speak to who might be liable for the area that collapsed.

People in 20 townhomes at The Riverwalk Townhomes at the Plaza are still displaced and without power. It's estimated they could be out thousands of dollars trying to find somewhere else to stay.

Because of the two collapses that have happened, some city council members say the city has got to come up with a solution to make sure something like this doesn't happen again.

Brown said he would have to direct questions about whether the city was liable for the damage to the General Counsel's Office.

"I don't know what the legal ramifications are," Brown said. "I know that the Florida Department of Transportation is looking at it. I'm not aware of all the details."

Some city council say the No. 1 priority is getting the power back on.

"We have sub-freezing temp for people at night," City Council President Clay Yarborough said. "They have to stay either in a hotel or they don't know where to stay. Food's going bad in the refrigerator."

"We have 10 times as many questions than we have answers," City Councilman John Crescimbeni said. "Until we get all the answers, we're going to be hard pressed to develop a solution."

The mayor said he doesn't know how long it will take to fix the road, but FDOT is working with the city on a plan.

"I've been the mayor now almost four years. People know my heart, my compassion to do what's right for the city," Brown said. "Things happen and you just got to deal with it."

At a meeting Wednesday some city leaders questioned whether or not there's enough money in the city budget for road work after the Liberty Street collapse.

The entire parking lot near the collapse site has been blocked off. Authorities want to make sure no one comes into the area since it's so close to where the most recent collapse happened.