JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry announced he wants the city to invest $100 million in neighborhood parks, pools, libraries and other quality-of-life enhancements over the next two years.
The plan was laid out Tuesday as Curry presented his $1.4 billion general fund budget to Jacksonville City Council.
Getting money to revamp parks in the city has been a priority of the council, and councilmember Randy DeFoor said Tuesday that each district had requested at least $100,000 for improvements.
“It is our intention that there will be considerable additional support for parks even beyond what the council asked for as a priority,” said Brian Hughes, Curry’s chief of staff.
City Council President Sam Newby and councilmember Randy White will establish a new committee that will help figure out how to use the money.
Outside the $1.4 billion budget, Curry said there is also a proposed $500 million for improvements in neighborhoods that have been left behind because of “years of neglect and under-investment.”
“In fact, this proposed [capital improvement plan] allocates $50 million the first year to phase out septic tanks in Jacksonville neighborhoods that were promised this critical work for decades,” Curry said. “It’s time to city lives up to its promises and begin rebuilding trust in our communities, and this is a first step toward that goal.”
Curry said the plan, which falls under his “Jobs for Jax” program, is made possible in part by the gas tax increase that was approved by the city council in May that will help pay for transportation and infrastructure projects. The nearly $1 billion the gas tax will generate frees up money for other critical projects like septic tanks, Curry said.
Also in the budget, $24 million for county road resurfacing, $54 million for drainage and resilience projects and a $5 million increase in funding for UF Health.
The finer details of the budget were not immediately available, but News4Jax is working to learn more.
After reviewing the contents of the budget, the city council is expected to vote to approve the budget by the end of September.
Newby told News4Jax he sees a lot of good things in the proposed budget and does not see any problems, but other council members said they want to examine it more closely before weighing in.