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Jacksonville, FL (March 30, 2017)

Town Hall Meeting another Great Year of Accomplishments for District 11

Jacksonville, FL (March 30, 2017) Holding a Town Hall meeting at the Southeast Regional Library, more than 50 residents came to hear District 11 Council member Danny Becton open his 2016-17 presentation by reviewing his 2015-16 Top Priorities, all objectives from the following year, by proclaiming them “All Accomplished”!

“Again, District 11 continues to be one of the most active, growth oriented areas in our City. As we discussed last year, those Top Priorities, were definitely my focus in mitigating the effects that we all see every day with new neighborhoods and business coming to our communities. Unfortunately, growth does occur at a much faster pace than the solutions for traffic and infrastructure. But help is on the way!”

During these opening remarks from CM Becton, residents heard about the many new “Approved” and “Funded” transportation projects included in the City Council Budget of 2016-17 and a special JIA CRA funding swap initiative with the FDOT. All of these transportation projects are coming but unfortunately, they will take time to implement. As more growth within the district was discussed along with the status of a new fire station, CM Becton reiterated to the residents how all of these successes were a result of a total team effort by the city’s administration and the help of the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT).

The projects discussed included:

J. Turner Butler/ Gate Parkway Interchange, FY17/18, $6m

I-95 and Baymeadows Road, FY20/21, $1.5m

JTB and San Pablo Interchange Improvement, FY19/20, $7.4m

Deerwood Parkway Bridge Widening, FY17/18, $1.5m

Sweetwater Parkway – Traffic Light, FY17, $300k

Gate Parkway / Blue Fin – Traffic Light, FY17, $300k

Concerned residents were happy to hear that money has been appropriated for a new Fire Station #63. While the money has been set aside, negotiations are still underway to secure a location. The city is hoping for a property swap with land owners rather than having to spend money for pricy District 11 real estate. In the meantime, a temporary quarter-million dollar facility is budgeted in the 2017-18 fiscal year, if the site become available. A more permanent facility is budgeted in 2019-20 at $3m.

Other announcements included a $100,000 grant from the NFL Jaguar Foundation to be used to install irrigation and sod on two flex fields at the 9A Regional Park. This money will be combined with $200,000 already appropriated for a total of $300,000. The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office will soon move its substation from Powers Ave. to a 7,211 square foot office in the Prominence Office Park off Baymeadows Road. The deal costs the city a whopping $1 a year for the next 10 years to lease the space. This new facility will provide JSO much needed room for their work and community outreach.

Joining CM Becton for this Town Hall, were city department heads including Public Works, Planning & Development, Parks & Recreation, Neighborhoods, JFRD, JSO and FDOT to answer questions about the District and provide reports. Since many of the roads in District 11 are state-owned and maintained, CM Becton arranged for FDOT Traffic Planner Scott Clem to speak about the aforementioned projects as well as the Express Lane toll road under construction on I-295E. The Express Lanes will be in the center of I-295E. The cost of using the Express Lanes will vary depending upon overall traffic congestion on I-295E. However, the outer lanes will remain free and will be used by those who need to exit or by those who would rather not pay a toll.

Also presenting was the new Director of the Neighborhoods Department, Stephanie Burch, who gave an overview of her department that includes Animal Care and Protective Services, Environmental Quality, Housing and Community Development, Mosquito Control, Municipal Code Compliance, 630-CITY, Neighborhood Services, and Office of Consumer Affairs.

She detailed the five top complaints that Neighborhoods gets from District 11. In order they are mosquito control, nuisance properties, residential violations, litter and snipe signs, and stray animals. You can find Mrs. Burch’s slide presentation below.

CM Becton concluded the meeting by speaking about his “Connecting Neighborhoods” initiative. The objective of this initiative is to enhance the quality of life for residents within all communities of the District by connecting them with information that will enhance and enrich their lives and with city services that provide important and valuable resources. Becton discussed his efforts in developing a “Neighborhood Resource Kit”, a “District 11 Web Site”, and the “Tour of District 11” Video for which he ended the meeting playing for those having not yet seen it. The Video was a presentation previously made to the Full Council on February 28th, highlighting the many great places to live, work and play in the district. The video can be found on the home page of our web site.

Other Notable District accomplishments and issues included:

Economic News

  • August 10th, 2016 2015-544 Deutsche Bank – Previously announced back in Fall of 2015, with 1,600 expanding by 475 jobs and a $23 million capital investment expansion here on Gate Parkway in the previous PSH building, Deutsche Bank has added 675 (1,800) and with the possibility of adding another 1,000 jobs in their new facility.
  • January, 2017 FormatIV Health Opening Up Business with 500 Jobs in District 11. As there is no Bill attached, because there were NO TAX INCENTIVES needed to bring this New York based start-up company to Jacksonville. They will be located on Belford Road off JTB / I95. Salaries from $35,000 to $55,000, looking to be open by May of 2017.
  • January 2017, Tesla Opens Service Center in District 11 on Philips Highway north of Baymeadows Road.
  • January 2017, JJVA, Jacksonville Junior Volleyball Association has opened in District 11 on Western Way off Baymeadows Road serving over 1,500 players and employing 80 full / part-time, they are currently host 21 regional competitions bring teams from Alabama, Georgia, Florida and South Carolina to our area.
  • February 2017, The Main Event has reopened the doors of the prior Latitude 360 facility on Philips Highway at the Avenues.

Growth Management News

  • 2016-673 On October 11, 2016, City Council approved the development of a heated/cooled fully-enclosed personal self-storage facility with internal access to units on Deerwood Park Blvd.
  • 2016-704 On October 25, 2016, City Council approved a 150 Room High-Tech Upscale Senior Living Housing development on Burnt Mill Road by Kronos Capital Inc. This facility will house residents for Assisted Living and Memory Care, providing approximately 150 jobs.
  • 2017-40/41 On March 14, 2017, City Council approved the Mixed-Use Gate Parkway Village development of Cantrell & Morgan. This development has committed $1.4 million to transportation improvements to the adjacent roadways to mitigate traffic congestion and help solve some of the traffic flow issues at the intersection of Gate Parkway and Deerwood Park

Legislative News

  • 2016-483 Banking Fund Bill whereby CM Becton changed the ability of the city to delay its long term repayment of Principle and Interest on competed Capital Projects. This issue resulted from the research and questioning of Bill 2015-781 Everbank Amphitheater. CM Becton Impacted.
  • 2016-562 Alarm Bill whereby CM Becton reduces the excessive penalties and requirements being made on small business owners based on the number of false alarms being recorded. CM Becton Impacted.
  • 2016-679 Which clarified the correct spelling of Philips Highway, “one L” for which this roadway was dedicated to in 1934 to our first Florida State Road Board (forerunner of FDOT) chairman, Mr. Henry Bethune Philips. This will have our Postal Service, Tax Collector, Property Appraiser, etc. get their databases corrected and therefore, allowing business owners to gradually make the change as well. Becton Introduced and Passed.
  • 2016-489 This Bill appropriated $70,000 to fund Neighborhood Community Events for Council Members. CM Becton, Voted No 17 – 2, voicing concern of tax dollars being wasted.
  • 2016-791 Economic Dev Agreement with Uptown Signature Development, Inc (River City Marketplace) for a REV Grant of $1,750,000; TID Infrastructure Dev Grant up to $200,000 from the JIA CRA funds. CM Becton, Voted No 17 – 2, voicing concern that this was crossing the line into corporate welfare as the River City Town Center needed no more incentives.
  • 2017-015 Human Rights Ordinance whereby CM Becton voiced concerns over the impact to Small Business and that the legislation itself was bad in that it did nothing to impact the LGBT community but would case more discrimination not less. CM Becton, Voted No, final vote: 12 – 6.