Southbank Riverwalk to be completed after all

City Council members learned last week project was ending short of plan

By Jim Piggott - Reporter, Ashley Harding - Reporter, Staff
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - City officials believe they have found a way to get the funds necessary to complete the Southbank Riverwalk. 

Channel 4 first reported in August that the new Riverwalk would not be extended to the Duval County School Board building. That disclosure recently disturbed some City Council members, who said last week that they were never told.

The council's recreation committee got some answers Tuesday. Members said they've found the $2 million needed to complete the project.

Before, the project was going to end about 900 feet short because of a lack of funds.

"I think it's insane to even suggest that it won't get finished," said City Councilman John Crescimbeni. "I think it's ridiculous it's come to this point without any solution being brought forward. 

Public Works Director Jim Robinson acknowledged a lack of communication but also said the money wasn't the only hurdle -- getting approval from landowners like the school board was too.

"We'll be implementing some safeguards in our project processes for, particularly for these large capital projects to make sure the council and other stakeholders, for that matter, are on a more frequent update about project status," said Robinson.

At Tuesday's meeting, Councilwoman Denise Lee proposed a new legislation which would get the necessary $2 million.

City leaders say no matter what it takes, the project is still happening. 

The legislation is currently being drafted and city leaders expect it will be discussed during the meeting next week. 

The Riverwalk stretches near Friendship Fountain over to the Duval County School Board building. It will be concrete, except for the part in front of the Crowne Plaza Jacksonville-Riverfront, which will remain wood because the owner and the city never came to an agreement.

The project is expected to be completed summer 2014.

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