JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – There are a number of pressing issues and hot-button topics facing Jacksonville, including the future of the city’s remaining Confederate monuments, suspension of curbside recycling pickup and traffic delays due to trains.
Those issues are major concerns for the Jacksonville City Council, and on Thursday, council members began laying out a plan of how to address them.
The future of the Confederate monuments was a topic that a group of council members, including Aaron Bowman, say need to be addressed now that the council has decided to let a monument in Springfield Park remain in place and covered.
“It’s an issue that’s on the forefront of a lot of our residents right now,” Bowman said. “We need to take it and take charge.”
The Confederate monument dilemma was one of the top six issues the planning group decided should be a priority for the coming year.
Also on their list, the recycling dilemma -- how the city will deal with the suspension of curbside recycling and whether it should continue to use city parks as collection points.
The council also wants to address various diversity issues in the coming year. It hopes to consider public art projects in all areas of the city, creating a small business corridor and a grant for workforce training.
Those are the No. 1 priorities that the full council will vote on at a later day, but there are other concerns as well. Other parts of its three-year plan include:
- After-school programs
- More park space, including riverfront parks
- $1 million crime-reduction pilot program in specific neighborhoods including Arlington, Durkeeville and New Town
There’s also a five-year plan. The council plans to continue its work on septic tank removal and it will look at how to deal with the growing problem of train backups. It also wants to address the infant mortality rate in Jacksonville, take action on the growing population of homeless people and look at health care for the low-income working class.
Council members hope these issues will remain on the forefront, and that is why they are acting on this wish list of sorts because in 18 months, Jacksonville will have a new mayor, and half of the current City Council members will be out on term limits.