Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Mayor-Elect Brown Gets Warm Reception at the Beaches

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Mayor-Elect Brown Gets Warm Reception at the Beaches

Article excerpt

Byline: Drew Dixon

On a coastal jaunt from Mayport Naval Station south through Jacksonville Beach, people greeted Alvin Brown with fawning welcomes and congratulatory wishes Tuesday, three days before he was scheduled to take office as Jacksonville's mayor.

"My boys love the Beaches now," Brown said, referring to his sons Joshua and Jordan, as about three dozen senior citizens applauded him at the Bennie Furlong Beaches Senior Center in Jacksonville Beach. "We got to make sure we take care of the Beaches."

Brown, who edged out Mike Hogan in the May 17 general election, promised during his campaign that Jacksonville City Hall would pay more attention to the Beaches. He had visited the senior center while campaigning and was happy to return to a crowd who remembered the promises.

"We expect a smile from the county now and a smile came across the Intracoastal Waterway to us," Furlong, a former Jacksonville Beach city councilwoman, said at the center that bears her name.

"They think everybody's rich at the Beaches, but we're not," she said. "We need help, too. I think help is coming for once."

The reception for Brown was similar at the Beach Diner in Atlantic Beach, where patrons eating breakfast were surprised to see the mayor-elect mix with the restaurant's staff and even sit down with a family at a booth to discuss issues important to them.

Brown appreciated the kudos from Beaches residents wherever he went, but he acknowledged there's work to do in shoring up the rapport between coastal municipalities and City Hall, which has been strained in recent years.

"I said I'm going to be a mayor for everybody no matter what side of town you live on," Brown said. "There are natural resources at the Beaches. It's a great place for our city to bring their kids and family to come onto the beach. There are excellent restaurants and amenities to enjoy."

A sticking point for some Beaches government leaders is the interlocal agreement between Jacksonville and coastal municipalities. Some want that revised to reflect greater service for the Beaches, whose residents pay taxes to their own respective municipal governments and Jacksonville. …

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