JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Mayor Lenny Curry made a pitch Wednesday to state lawmakers to bring more money into Jacksonville in order to keep pedestrians safe, help fight violence and work to prevent veterans from committing suicide.
Curry asked for an additional $2 million to fund three programs that he believes are important to Jacksonville: pedestrian crossing installation, Cure Violence and “The Fire Watch." He discussed the programs when he met with members of the Florida House and Senate in Tallahassee.
“We’ve got a number of projects but a big focus of mine is and has been public safety. We’re seeking funding for pedestrian safety, funding for Cure Violence, which helps intervene in stopping violent crime, and money to help us in preventing veteran suicide,” Curry said. “If I’m a taxpayer and I’m hearing we’re not going to be pulling $4 million out of our local general fund but we’re going to bring some of our tax dollars back home from Tallahassee, I think that’s important work and I think it’s important for taxpayers to know that.”
The mayor’s request for pedestrian improvements at 88 locations across the city comes after troopers said a pedestrian was killed in a hit-and-run crash Monday evening on Beach Boulevard. Curry asked the state for $750,000 to match $1.1 million by the city to add flashing lights to crosswalks and other enhancements such as pavement markings and signage.
The mayor also wants an additional $750,000 from the state to fund an expansion of the Cure Violence program that began in June. The city will also plug in an additional $2.4 million to add an additional Cure Violence site between Edgewood Avenue and Interstate 295. According to the city, there have been 17 murders and 62 shootings in the last three years in that area. Cure Violence is currently working in zones on Jacksonville’s Eastside and Northside, with “violence interrupters” heading into the streets in those areas to connect with the community and try to get people to put down the guns.
Additionally, Curry wants to help veterans by adding $500,000 to “The Fire Watch” program, with a $125,000 match from the city. Duval, Baker, Clay, Nassau and St. Johns counties teamed up to save lives through the program, which aims to reduce the suicide rate among men and women following military service. The program provides one-on-one counseling and local telephone helplines for Northeast Florida veterans.
The mayor’s pitch for funding for the three projects is on top of other money that the city receives from Tallahassee.
“I want the people of Jacksonville to know we’re over here advocating on their behalf and bringing their tax dollars back home to put it for work for them with a focus on public safety,” Curry said.