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Tear down of the Landing

This picture taken by Sky 4 today says exactly how I feel about our Mayor’s Administration.

A mess.

No words can explain about another bad deal on the banks of the St. Johns River. I’ve grown up here and the ONLY time anything ever finalized on the river — was the Landing. It was all we had as a city to be proud of and it became an iconic building in all the famous photos of Jacksonville. The orange roof building brought color and fun to the river and it was our claim to river fame.

And to top it off, The Landing even had its own I95 exit sign! (I think it’s still there.)

Now we have nothing on the River. Nothing on that side of the river for the people to enjoy. It’s one eye sore after another.

And we don’t know what will happen to the piece of land The Landing sat on. But maybe someone knows. But not us – the taxpayers. That’s only for those close to the Mayor and the powers to be downtown.

We have spent millions upon millions as handouts to developers who were going to change the banks of the river. They made promises to the city. The city made promises to us. And they all bailed on those promises. Nothing happened. And no one was held accountable.

Large masses of riverfront property still sit empty waiting for a vision to enchant our city and a leader with courage, integrity and a plan to make it happen.

The truth of the matter is this: The Landing could have been re-developed. There were beautiful plans to make it beautiful again but alas, our Mayor had one thing in mind — “tear it down!” He would not negotiate anything but “taking back the Landing” so he could demolish it. Sure she was old and tired but we re-do buildings all the time. Why not The Landing?

He’s the only one who knows. I guess we will know one day and for The Landing and for us — it will be too late. The Landing is a demolished mess and nothing can bring her back.

Something doesn’t smell right and it sure as heck stinks on the banks of the St. Johns River where our Christmas tree was lit every year, Presidents held rallies, and free concerts for the community were jazzing up the waterway.

Jacksonville is the worst when it comes to working with the city leaders to develop the prime riverfront. Where will the people enjoy the benefits of living on the St. Johns River? Not downtown – that’s a given.

And now — we wait — to see what promises will be made and what incentives will be handed out. And once again promises will be made and if you want to bet me on this – promises will be broken.

Surely there is someone out there who has a vision, a plan and cares about the rest of us -not just their donors and buddies. Where are you? Will you step up? We sure would like to Make Jacksonville Great Again!

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Billie Tucker Volpe Founder of Eye on Jacksonville and Leadership Consultant to CEOs/Executives

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