Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Mayport Road Needs 'Theme' to Spur Growth, Study Shows

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Mayport Road Needs 'Theme' to Spur Growth, Study Shows

Article excerpt

Byline: Christopher F. Aguilar, Shorelines staff writer

Mayport Road needs a "theme" similar to the village of Mayport to help its future redevelopment, said a consultant in charge of the Mayport Road Economic and Blight Study.

"Some identity or theme is certainly needed," said Joe Ehardt, senior project manager for the study.

Ehardt suggested signs, street lights and unique features that would give the road a "brand."

The suggestion is one of the goals consultants, residents, business owners and city officials from Atlantic Beach and Jacksonville have for Mayport Road and the village of Mayport.

HDR Landers-Atkins Planners are performing a yearlong, $65,000 study of Mayport Road, including utilities, housing, businesses and safety issues. The objective is to determine if Mayport Road can become a community redevelopment district, which would allow for county, state and federal grants and incentives.

"We feel the area does qualify as a redevelopment area," Ehardt said.

A redevelopment agency would be created that could fund Mayport Road improvements through tax increment financing. That would let the redevelopment district reap the benefits of increased property values and invest that money back into the Mayport Road area.

As part of the economic and blight study, three public meetings have been scheduled to get input from residents and business owners in the area. On Thursday, about 45 people attended the second meeting at Atlantic Beach City Hall.

At the first meeting, residents and business owners were asked to fill out a questionnaire identifying safety concerns along the road and the types of businesses and recreational assets they would like to see.

At Thursday's meeting, the consultants came back with the results of the survey.

Most of those surveyed want to see more retail businesses on Mayport Road, including bookstores, flower shops, gyms and national retailers, said Courtney Harris, a study consultant.

Fifty-two percent of those surveyed said they don't want bars or sex-related businesses, which dominate the road's scenery, along with tattoo parlors and used car lots. …

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