JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A new plaque has been unveiled in the Duval County Courthouse lobby as a token of appreciation for the Hispanic and minority laborers who helped build it.
The bronze plaque is the product of a 2014 Jacksonville City Council bill acknowledging the efforts involved in construction of the courthouse, which opened in 2012 as part of a $350 million project.
"This plaque recognizes the contributions of those smaller contractors that were so vital in the construction of this wonderful building," Chief Judge Mark Mahon said Wednesday. "This is a great place for judges to come and it's a real tribute to justice in our community."
"Without the small businesses, this building just wouldn't have been able to survive and go on. So it's important to the community to have this building but it's also important to these small contractors that they get the work, they be able to hire local people and it contributes to the community so it's really a win-win situation," Mahon added.
Contractors involved in the Herculean effort said the plaque -- which bears the names of former City Council members, like Johnny Gaffney, Warren Jones, Don Redman and Matt Schellenberg -- represents more than the sweat and labor that went into the courthouse's construction.
"All of them endorsed it, endorsed this resolution which makes us see that we are all united in this town.," said Tomás Jiménez, Sr., of Jiménez-Bellisario Enterprises. "Jacksonville, we're all united, doesn't matter what color you are, where you came for. We're all friends, we all work together for the best and the benefit of our community."