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Jacksonville, FL (June 23, 2016) Councilman Becton – held his first Town Hall meeting for District 11, hosted by the Southeast Regional Library on Deerwood Blvd. Over one hundred and fifty guests attended along with representatives from the City of Jacksonville, that included: Public Works, Planning & Development, Parks, Neighborhoods, Police and Fire along with a representative from the Florida Department of Transportation. Also attending was special guest Mayor Lenny Curry who made the initial presentation for the evening discussing the upcoming Pension Referendum. The initial Town Hall of CM Becton was a success beyond expectations, allowing constituents to hear the many accomplishments throughout the District and to have the opportunity to ask questions of the Councilman and his City of Jacksonville staff.

The following represents a summary of the events for the evening.

Councilman Becton held his first town hall meeting on Thursday, June 23, 2016 at the Southeast Regional Library. A social was held from 6 to 7pm with the meeting set to begin at 7pm by Councilman Becton introducing the speakers and COJ representatives who were there to answer question and discuss issues within the District. Those in attendance included:

  • Executive Asst. for CM Becton – Dan Macdonald
  • Director of Planning & Development – Bill Killingsworth
  • Director of Public Works – John Pappas
  • Chief of Solid Waste – Will Williams
  • Director of Parks & Recreation – Daryl Joseph
  • Interim Director of Neighborhoods – Kimberly Scott
  • Chief Municipal Code Compliance – Bryan Mosier
  • Chief Jax Fire & Rescue – Kurtis Wilson
  • Asst Chief, JSO Zone 3 Commander – Mat Nemeth
  • FDOT, District 2 – James Knight
  • Waste Pro, Division Manager – Steve Crawford

Councilman Becton indicated that the projects that you will hear about this evening, the economic growth, the jobs and the companies that are moving into our city and our area, is a testament to your current City Government working together along with Council seamlessly. Having been a citizen on the opposite side of government for many years, it has not always been like this but not anymore and certainly not this past year.

With that Councilman Becton introduced Mayor, Lenny Curry who then proceeded to provide his remarks concerning the Pension Reform. The Mayor was on a tight schedule but spent approximately thirty minutes on the plan and then gave attendees an opportunity to have a short question and answer period. The Mayor then departed for another scheduled meeting.

Some excerpts and highlights from Councilman Becton’s speech

“It has been an exciting year in District 11. Prior to taking office on July 1st, I had the pleasure of getting elected early and while I was preparing for taking office, I took advantage of that time and was able to start to work with the previous administration on my TOP PRIORITY which was to secure the funds necessary in the 2015-16 budget to complete the 9A Baymeadows Regional Park, Phase II Tennis Courts project.

Since the park opened over 10 years ago, this Regional Park had been consistently overlooked for funding. Once on the council, my work continued with the current administration and on Sept 21, 2015, the budget PASSED with an appropriation of $1 million dollars to match an existing $1 million dollars to complete this project in addition to other much needed repairs. Mission Accomplished!…This past year, I have represented you on the Council by serving on the Committees of Finance and Land Use and Zoning (LUZ). As a first year Council member, I’m here to say, it does not get any more challenging than that and I welcomed and loved every minute of it.”

“District 11 has been what I will argue, the most active and most growth oriented area in our City over the past 12 months. As your Council member, who previously served many years as chair of the Growth Management and Transportation Committee of the SE CPAC “Citizens Advisory Committee”, that experience would be priceless in that we have been inundated with projects all year long …… Please allow me to highlight some of those projects that have transpired during this past council year:”

Growth Management and Economic Development

  • 2015-319 On US1 / South of 9B – Rezoning of a 2,400 potential Unit development named “Wells Creek” by the Eastland Group. (Bartram, Queens Harbor)
  • 2015-332 Johnson & Johnson Vision Care – 2,000 expanding by 100 Jobs with a $301 million capital investment expansion here on Deerwood Parkway.
  • 2015-544 Deutsche Bank – 1,600 expanding by 475 jobs with a $23 million capital investment expansion here on Gate Parkway in the previous PSH building.
  • 2015-658 AC Skinner Parkway at Southside Blvd. – A rezoning of a 20.49 acre site for a 350 Multi Family 4-5 story Bldg. Units.
  • 2015-660 Salisbury Road at AC Skinner Parkway– A rezoning of a 7.3 acre site for a 260 Multi Family 8 Bldg. Units called Portiva.
  • 2015-699 On US1 / Bayard – Rezoning of a 135 Unit development named “Copperleaf”, which is currently under development.
  • 2015-730 South Kernan Blvd. Across fm “UNF-The District” – A rezoning of a 15.9 acre development named “Coastal Cove”, for 81 single family homes.
  • 2015-739 Freedom Commerce Center – renamed Prominence, re-branding and new tenant’s with occupancy increasing from approx. 35% to 85%.
  • Southern Grocers, Winn-Dixie, relocation of Headquarter Operations to Baymeadows.
  • 2015-773 IKEA – Major retailer, 250 full / part-time jobs, huge regional draw. Projected Construction Start Fall 2016, Opening Fall 2017.
  • 2016-197 City Refrigeration – New Company into the US, initial creation of 51 high paying jobs, average salary of $67,000 with another 49 jobs by December 2017. Minimum investment of $5.7 million dollars.
  • 2016-283 Gate Parkway near Village Walk – Rezoning of a 105 acre Mixed Use development by Hines Intl for 103,500 Commercial, 350,000 sq.ft office, 180 Units of Condo / townhomes, 950 single/apt residential units.

Other Notables:

  • 2014-393 Old Still, Baymeadows Road East, 89 acre site for 150 Residential Unit Community.
  • August 2015 Citi – 3,500 Jobs expanding 500 in 2016 in the Flagler Center Bayard.
  • May 2016 Aetna – Summer 2017 will be moving Corporate Office from Southbank to the “former” Bank of America office park on Southside Blvd. Bank of America will also be occupying this space as well.

“As you can see growth in District 11 has been anything but quiet and with this activity, there becomes the issues of traffic. For an update on what is happening in that area, Mr. Jim Knight will be giving us a brief update on the many FDOT projects taking place to accommodate this growth”, Council member Becton noted. 

“In conclusion, there are already projects and priorities well underway that I have been working on for the upcoming new Council year. Some of these include:”

Transportation Projects and Priorities

  • Bridge Widening – Deerwood Parkway
  • Getting on the TPO’s Priority Plan List
  • Getting on the COJ’s 2016-17 CIP Plan & getting it funded.
  • Traffic Light Projects
  • Traffic warrants approved for:
    • Sweetwater Parkway
    • Gate Parkway at PSH
    • Getting these on the COJ’s 2016-17 CIP Plan & funded.
  • Gate Parkway / JTB Interchange Improvements
    • Special committee setup (FDOT, JTA, COJ, ETM)
    • Develop analysis of ROI of economic benefit to area.
    • Work to get State Funding
  • A New Fire Station. We have accomplished, after many months of working with local property owners and have received two viable options that are under consideration as we speak. We hope to have a decision in the very near future.
  • Baymeadows Road – Old Baymeadows Golf Course Redevelopment. A project I personally have been working on for over 12 years. A public / private partnership involving road improvements and a community revitalization plan.

The meeting lasted 90 minutes was spent interacting with residents with the COJ staff with favorable comments from those in attendance.

A Community Out-Reach, District 11 Presentation folder with valuable information was provided to each attendee.