Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Easing Growing Pains Task Force Unveils Familiar Remedies

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Easing Growing Pains Task Force Unveils Familiar Remedies

Article excerpt

More money for roads. Promote and fund mass transit. Don't just

react to growth -- plan for it. Make development pay for itself.

The growth management debate in Jacksonville took a new turn

yesterday when the city's Growth Management Task Force formally

unveiled those and other prescriptions to remedy local growing

pains.

What wasn't being trumpeted at the City Hall news conference,

however, was that a strikingly similar set of recommendations

was released more than a decade ago in a report that gathered

more dust than momentum.

It sported the rather dry title, Toward a Balanced Strategy

for Jacksonville, and was the product of a 26-member committee

called by then-Mayor Jake Godbold, who warned of dire

consequences if Jacksonville did not "take the bull by the

horns" on growth management.

Now out of office and armed with the benefit of hindsight,

Godbold said the 1984 report languished because it never

developed the political momentum needed to sell it.

"Nobody took growth management very seriously then," said

Godbold, mayor from 1979 to 1987. "Promoting growth is more

politically popular than the serious task of managing it. . . .

It just wasn't sexy for politicians to talk about that."

At the time, Godbold recalled, the city's crowded growth

corridors were in their infancy. Places that are now teeming

with residential and commercial development "were nothing but

cows, horses and cow manure."

The irony that the latest report, Jacksonville Into the 21st

Century, covers much of the same ground isn't lost on Suzanne

Jenkins, a neighborhood activist who helped develop it.

The difference, she pointed out, is the level of community,

grass roots input.

Mayor John Delaney and City Council President Eric Smith, she

said, went out of their way to balance their task force's

abundance of lawyers, developers and businesspeople with

ordinary citizens like herself. …

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