Northside community shares suggestions for change at mayor’s 12th community conversation

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – It was a packed house filled with plenty of listening ears as Mayor Donna Deegan held her 12th community conversation event.

Northside residents came to the Florida State College at Jacksonville North campus to share their issues and concerns with Deegan and Councilman Reggie Gaffney Jr. about development problems and future beautification projects for the neighborhood.

Several residents pointed out that development is an extreme issue in the area.

James Matchett told city leaders that housing developers aren’t adding amenities to the new subdivisions.

“When it comes to kids having somewhere to go once they come home in the afternoon, they’re nowhere for miles. They’re not even parks on the Northside that are not connected with schools. So if school is in that park, it is unavailable to people that want to go and can’t use it during school hours,” he said.

Matchett said he feels like the amenities and infrastructure should be added first before the homes.

“To do that they have to care about the quality of life for people on the northside. Care enough to say this land was going to be set aside for that,” Matchett said.

Another resident said he would like the mayor to consider adding housing programs for people to purchase homes.

The next community meeting is on Oct. 9 at Westside High School.