Mayor: ‘We did our job’ on Lot J; now it’s City Council’s turn

‘How long are we going to find reasons to not do things downtown?’ Curry said

As we continue to learn more about the city's role in the planned Lot J development, Mayor Curry spoke out today about its future.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – There is still a lot of concern about Jacksonville’s role in the Lot J project.

City Council members say they are now getting precise answers to their questions about the city spending more than $233 million on the controversial entertainment complex.

There are still issues on the table about contracts and guarantees surrounding which party -- the developer, the Jaguars or the city -- pays for what, how much and when.

Mayor Lenny Curry told News4Jax on Wednesday that he knows council members are doing their job by getting their questions answered but they will need to make a decision.

“We did our job and negotiated a deal,” Curry said. “At some point they are going to have to vote. It’s going to have to be yes or no. What can’t go on, are certain members hiding behind the continual drumbeat of ‘I can’t get my questions answered.’”

While that vote will not be until Jan. 7 with a final vote on Jan. 12, there will be one more special council meeting this week on Friday to discuss those questions.

It’s not only the council that has concerns about the multi-million project. At almost every council meeting on Lot J, Carnell Oliver has been there to listen and ask questions.

He is a community activist and says this project would be good for minorities.

“I think the LOT J has a lot of issues but what it does offer is opportunities for communities to be able to flourish,” Oliver said.

On Tuesday, a handful of people who disagreed with that notion were very vocal outside City Hall as they protested Lot J.

The group blasted the mayor and his staff with obscenities and even named the mayor’s children as they protested. That is why the mayor says he stayed away and did not light the city Christmas tree with this family as planned.

“I am not going to expose my kids to people saying vulgar things. People putting their names on signs. People talking about their schools,” Curry said. “It’s disgusting.”

Despite the protest and the council’s lack of action -- Curry said it’s now time to move on Lot J.

“There’s always going to be critics that are going to find reasons to poke holes in things,” Curry said. “How long are we going to find reasons to not do things downtown?”

About the Author:

Jim Piggott is the reporter to count on when it comes to city government and how it will affect the community.