Damaged docks have city scrambling ahead of Florida-Georgia

Fans who use Metro Park to tailgate dockside need alternative

By Jim Piggott - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The city is still assessing the damage from Hurricane Irma and what the storm did to public property.

One area clearly destroyed in the hurricane was the docks along the St. Johns River in Downtown Jacksonville.

The docks at Metropolitan Park are in bad shape, which is not good news for those who typically use the dock for events like the upcoming Florida-Georgia football game.

The docks at the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts, which is next to the Jacksonville Landing, were knocked out of the water and have been that way since the storm.

Despite the damage, not much repair work appears to be taking place so far.

Jacksonville boater Robbie Baker said he likes to take his boat out on weekends and is hoping to find a place to dock during crowded events like the Florida-Georgia game. But with the docks so damaged, that will be a problem.

“A lot of them are messed up, especially over at the Landing,” Baker said. “There’s not enough parking there for the boats.”

Also over on the Southbank, a part of the old Riverwalk near the downtown boat ramp, which was already falling apart, is even more of a mess. 

But the Metropolitan Park area will be the biggest problem as the Florida-Georgia game approaches.

Not only are the docks gone, but even the bulkhead was partially washed away, and it's going to take time and a lot of money to repair it.

Fans traditionally tie up boats next to each other along the river, but with the dock being destroyed, city representatives said they're not sure what they are going to do to provide an alternative.

They said they are working on coming up with a solution.

One area that seems to be OK is the marina near the stadium, which is next to Metro Park. 

The city said it's open and those who have reservations to dock for the upcoming Jaguars game will be able to do so.

The water taxi has been operating since the storm and can access most of its stops, except for the Jacksonville Zoo and a newer location near the Shipyards property.

Some of the damage in front of the Landing actually happened during Hurricane Matthew a year ago, and it still has not been repaired.

Boaters said Friday that they hope the city will now move quicker to get things shipshape again.

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