Councilman Richard Clark,who represents District 3 which is in the southside of Jacksonville, has introduced legislation that would permanently close the public river access point at Little Van Wert which is in District 14, in the Avondale area of Jacksonville and represented by Councilman Jim Love.
For over 100 years Jacksonville has kept the right-of-way river access points at the end of streets open for public enjoyment of the river, even so the majority of river access has become privatized over the years with public access points ever dwindling which makes it all the more important that we keep the few remaining access points, especially those deemed “Pocket Parks” open for the enjoyment of all our citizens.
Councilman Clark wants to take the land from the public and give it to the neighbors on either side. Councilman Clark does not represent district 14 and has not bothered to consult with or ask for any input from the local community, other than the two property owners who would financially benefit from his proposed legislation.
Sound a little fishy? It gets worse;
Councilman Clark has sought a waiver of Ordinance Section 744.104 which requires, as Section 3 of Bill 2015-0360 acknowledges, that the Public Works Department perform an administrative review and receive favorable replies from all agencies, prior to legislation for closure being submitted to the Council for its consideration. Further, Section 744.104 states that “no right-of-way, road, street or public accessway capable of providing pedestrian access to any public waters in the City, shall be closed, vacated or abandoned, except in those instances in which the applicant(s) conveys to the City comparable land or lands for a right-of-way, road, street or public access to provide access to the same body of water. Said access shall be in such condition as is acceptable to the City.
Councilman Clark has skipped that normal chain of events and gone straight to the council.
Not only that but he planned his actions to take place on the first day back from a long holiday weekend, while Mayor Alvan Brown is packing his bags and the council is in a slight disarray after the election. While outgoing council members prepare to leave and before all new members, aside from Reggie Gaffney, who will be sworn in tonight, are brought up to speed.
Riverside Avondale Preservation, The Jacksonville Historic Preservation Committee, the COJ Planning Department, and the COJ Parks and Recreation Department have all come out against this bill. as has Councilman Jim Love, who actually represents the area.
What about you? Do you think this land should continue to be used and enjoyed by all, as it has for over 100 years or do you think Councilman Clark’s friends should have a private playground?
Make your voice heard.
Send an email or letter to all of the city council members. email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, RClark@coj.net, Redman@coj.net, LBoyer@coj.net, MattS@coj.net, EDLee@coj.net, WAJones@coj.net, RBrown@coj.net, Holt@coj.net, email@example.com, Gulliford@coj.net, JimLove@coj.net, KimDaniels@coj.net, JRC@coj.net, Joost@coj.net, GAnderson@coj.net, RLumb@coj.net
Hearings/meetings are listed below. All hearings are held in City Council Chambers in City Hall located at 117 W. Duval St.
City Council — 5/26/15 at 5:00 pm (Clay Yarborough, Chair) — Public Hearing
Rules Committee — 6/01/15 at 9:00 am (Bill Gulliford – Chair)
TEU Committee — 6/01/15 at 2:00 pm (Reggie Brown – Chair)
RCDPHS Committee — 6/02/15 at 2:00 pm (Don Redman – Chair)
LUZ Committee — 6/02/15 at 5:00 pm (Ray Holt – Chair)
City Council — 6/9/15 at 5:00 pm (Clay Yarborough, Chair) There is no public hearing, the Council will vote on the issue and typically confirms committee recommendations.