Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

A Plan for Our Waterway Wonderland

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

A Plan for Our Waterway Wonderland

Article excerpt

Jacksonville has a wealth of riches along its many waterways.

We have an oceanfront.

We have the Intracoastal Waterway.

We have a majestic river.

We have numerous tributaries.

Jacksonville is a waterway wonderland.

So it is head-scratching that the city has not made better use of its riches, especially downtown.

Our riverfront downtown is more like a bay or estuary; it's more like Baltimore's Inner Harbor.

Our creeks near downtown, like Hogans Creek and McCoys Creek, could easily pass for San Antonio's tiny stream.

Fortunately, a group of local architects had been steadily working - quietly - on a compelling vision for the city's waterways.

City Council President Lori Boyer discovered their work as she was focusing on some of the projects being proposed for the downtown riverfront.

Boyer told the architects that progress is being made, There is the Dailys Place amphitheater. Soon the USS Adams will be located downtown as well.

Boyer said the time for action has come.

She and four of the architects met recently with the Times-Union editorial board to describe their vision.

They quoted Daniel Burnham, architect and urban planner: "Make no little plans because they have no magic to stir men's blood."

The key is thinking of the downtown riverfront as a series of about a dozen "nodes," places with separate identities spaced in about 10-minute walks from each other. The key is then to connect these nodes with each other.

As Boyer said, as new developments come online, more public parking will ba added as well as expansions of the riverwalk and pedestrian access.

Eventually, the Northbank Riverwalk could extend from Talleyrand past the Fuller Warren Bridge. The riverwalk would be connected by a pedestrian walkway so that it is a complete loop.

The Southbank Riverwalk could extend from the District development (the old JEA Southside power plant) past the Fuller Warren Bridge to Nemours.

- The idea is flexible. "Let's create a framework that everyone can plug into," said architect and artist Dave Engdahl. …

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