Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Juggling Needs of Downtown, Suburbs

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Juggling Needs of Downtown, Suburbs

Article excerpt

Byline: Ron Littlepage

It's not exactly Christmas in July, but in many ways, it's the start of a new year.

Six months down and six months to go, and when the City Council returns to work next week after its summer vacation, new leadership will be in place and a new budget for the next fiscal year will be waiting to be refined.

Before we get into that, now former City Council President Lori Boyer deserves praise for the work she did in the just concluded City Council year.

She guided the council through some contentious issues, such as Mayor Lenny Curry's pension reform plan and expansion of the city's Human Rights Ordinance.

She also jumped feet first, as she always does, into an issue that she says wasn't even on her radar screen when her presidency began a year ago.

For a long time, different people and groups have talked about the importance of capitalizing on our greatest natural assets - the St. Johns River, its tributaries, the Intracoastal Waterway, our tidal creeks and marshes, and our beaches.

Boyer set up a process to begin tying those efforts together and to finally accomplish that goal.

A friend described Boyer as "on fire for the river." She's actually on fire for all of our waterways, and she's committed to continuing the push to activate them and make them accessible to all.

Anna Lopez Brosche is the new City Council president, and she has her own priorities for her one-year term.

She wants to focus on Downtown, improving neighborhoods that have been neglected, bettering our parks and making Jacksonville a great place for children to grow up in.

When Brosche and the council return to work, they will receive Curry's proposed budget on July 17.

A major focus of the budget will once again be on public safety, including hiring additional police officers and community service officers.

And as Curry announced during a news conference earlier this week, part of the public safety push will be a program called Safe Neighborhoods. …

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