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Jacksonville, FL (September 14th, 2021) – At the City Council meeting for September 14th, Bill 2021-497, a Development Agreement introduced by CM Danny Becton and unanimously approved by City Council, provided for the donation of approximately 15+ acres of property off AC Skinner Parkway and with an additional $1 million-dollar contribution, in all to become a development for a New Future “Active” City Park for the Southside area.

 It was several years in the making, whereby, three parcels of property owned and up for sale by the Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA), these Parcels referred to as Parcels A, B and C were all identified as potential sites for Multifamily development requiring Land-Use and Zoning changes to allow. Parcels A & B, were approved in 2018 and 2019 to High Density Residential but out of concerns that CM Becton explained in an October 8, 2020 memo to the Planning Commission, Parcel C was not to be supported by CM Becton for a Land-Use change without further considerations.

 During this time, CM Becton and potential buyer, PresidiumRe, President of Development, Mark Farrell were able to come to an agreement on how to remedy the concerns of CM Becton and work out the development agreement details which were later codified within Bill 2021-497 that successfully passed.

 “I support “Mixed-Use Development” within growth areas as smart growth, combining residential with commercial to allow for local shopping, working and recreational activities in nearby areas. Without that type of development, our transportation corridors within our city break down and create congestion and traffic ties-up whereby residents have no choice but to commute rather than the concept of “live-here, work-here, play-here”, CM Becton detailed. “The compromise to this solution was to address the play-here void, which the Southside area was in critical need of”, CM Becton acknowledged. “It was a challenging negotiated solution with the three parties involved but, in the end, everyone walked away satisfied with what we had accomplished”, CM Becton concluded.

 The Development Agreement Bill 2021-497, was related to other changes that also included a Land-Use Bill 2021-517 and a Rezoning Bill 2021-518. These Bills all together outlined the potential use of the 42.56-acre property off of AC Skinner Parkway from CGC/CO to HDR/PUD & ROS for the Park area. The development of this area will be done in several phases, detailed in Bill 2021-518, to first develop Phase I as 347 multifamily units, Phase II & III as 332 & 323 multifamily units respectively and Phase IV as the 15.24-acre active park, which will be donated to the City of Jacksonville along with a $1,000,000 donation to help pay for the project.

 “The term “Active Park” refers to the fact that this park is to have areas for team sports”, CM Becton explained. “Areas where flex fields can be built for football, soccer, and other types of recreational activities that need wide open spaces and good fields to play on”, CM Becton explained. “Our city is in short supply of these type of facilities and the one’s we do have like Fort Family Regional Park off of Baymeadows is over utilized and hard to maintain due to that high use”, CM Becton added. “This new facility will help in providing additional resources to a growing area”, CM Becton concluded.

 Upon passage of 2021-497, CM Becton stated the following:

 “I want to thank my colleagues for supporting this bill.  This was a two-and-a-half-year negotiation with a potential buyer of the property that began by addressing concerns for the overall community development that by changing the land use for what was already a high-density area of residential would not be keeping with the idea of proper planning as to the concept of Mixed-Use. Recognizing those concerns, the potential buyer resolved those issues, notably realizing this area lacked a recreational component and worked with me to address that need. The buyer of this property agreed to donate 15+ acres, worth about $4.2 million, to the city and in addition to that donation, they will be contributing an additional $1 million to help fund the site development of the property. I hope this will be a great start to incentivize the council to help develop this park through the next few years of funding that is allocated within the $100 million being set aside for Parks and Recreation within our budget. This area will be central to supporting City Council Districts 4, 5, 6, and 3; I hope, I can count on my future colleagues to match these dollars to get this site developed.

 I want to extend a big thank you to JTA, the buyer Presidium and Mark Farrell, Cindy Trimmer and Steve Diebenow, and the OGC team lead by Susan Grandin who all worked to bring this together.  Once again, thank you for your support and I look forward to this being a big asset to the City of Jacksonville for years to come.”

By Joe Johnson, District 11 Executive Council Assistant and CM Danny Becton.