Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Mayor Says It's Time to Put Jam Splash Behind

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Mayor Says It's Time to Put Jam Splash Behind

Article excerpt

Are you as sick of Jam Splash as Mayor John Delaney?

After his monthly town hall meeting this week became a forum on

the city's handling of the controversial event, the mayor said

it's time to "put it behind us" and move on.

Delaney, a resident of Neptune Beach, defended the overwhelming

police presence during the weekend's festivities in downtown

Jacksonville and the Beaches, noting that the martial atmosphere

was provoked by wildly overstated estimates that some 70,000

college students might show up.

"What if the sheriff hadn't done it, if there had been a bigger

crowd and we had some trouble?" he quizzed the crowd at Stanton

College Preparatory High School.

City officials are rather lukewarm about having Jam Splash

return next year but are very careful to avoid sounding like

they are pulling away the welcome mat for black tourists.

They are even willing to work with promoter T.C. Copeland, as

long as he pays his bills on time and is willing to work with

the city. But they are convinced that downtown Jacksonville just

isn't the place for spring break hijinks.

Privately, they are hoping that the few kids who did show up --

city estimates say 20,000 at most -- will spread the word back

on campus that Metropolitan Park is not a happening place to be

during spring break.

"It's not like we were soliciting this particular event,"

Delaney said. "College kids are not at the top of our list,

black or white."

NO SHOW: It was a rare sight to see so many City Council members

together (outside of the council chambers, that is) when 11 of

them gathered Tuesday to kick off renovations to the St. James

Building.

Just as interesting, though, was who didn't show up, such as

Councilman Terry Wood , a critic of the plan to spend $25

million to turn the former department store into Jacksonville's

new City Hall.

Wood said other obligations, not sour grapes, kept him away.

But that doesn't mean he now likes the idea.

"I just don't think it's a wellplanned idea," said Wood, citing

lingering concerns about parking (too inconvenient) and the

building's size (too small). …

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