Downtown nonprofit employees could park for free

City employees could get 50% discount under new proposal

By Ashley Mitchem - Reporter, anchor

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The city of Jacksonville wants to make parking downtown easier for some who work there without adding more parking space.

Pending approval, the city could spend thousands of dollars to allow employees of the future Jessie Ball duPont Center free parking and all city employees a 50 percent discount on downtown parking.

Mayor Alvin Brown and city leaders announced 200 free parking spaces will be available to people who work at the nonprofits, which will be inside the future Jessie Ball duPont Center, which is now under construction.

Officials said it's to help the organizations put their money to other places instead of parking.

"These organizations operate on a pretty thin financial margin," said Sherry Magill, president of the Jessie Ball duPont Fund. "Anything we can do to control their costs."

Those who have lived in Jacksonville for a while may remember the building has been unused for some time.

Officials want to turn the former Haydon Burns Library into a business that houses 12-15 nonprofits. It should be complete in 2015.

"I'm struck how the Jacksonville public has embraced this project," Magill said. "They really didn't want to see this building go into disrepair."

"They kept most of the structure here, so keeping the history here, all of those things are important," Brown said. "Its an iconic setting coming back to life."

The second parking proposal would give city workers half off the price of parking downtown.

The city would spend $116,400 each year for five years, totaling $582,000. That would pay for free parking for employees of the nonprofits in the center.

For city workers to have half-off parking downtown, it would cost the city $81,228 a year.

Both pieces of legislation are awaiting approval. The proposals will be introduced to City Council on Tuesday but won't go up for a vote until Aug. 12.

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