Renderings published in the media indicate Mayor Lenny Curry is opting for a new bum magnet in the heart of Jacksonville.
To replace the Jacksonville Landing – which just 30 years ago was considered the “catalyst” for downtown redevelopment – Curry is proposing grass, which is exactly what would be there if Jacksonville did not exist.
Why Curry feels the need for another park in a city that a previous mayor boasted had more park space than any city in America is baffling.
Directly across the river is a park that has existed for more than 50 years. Just a few blocks north is Hemming Plaza, which has been there more than a century.
But Curry and the City Council favored tearing down the Landing. Instead of selling the property to a developer who might put a useful, tax-producing building on the lot, they have opted for another park.
Only a few blocks from homeless shelters, it is certain to attract bums and panhandlers.
Is San Francisco Curry’s idea of a successful city?
Many people still wonder why politicians allowed the Landing to go down.
Had they provided the promised parking and security, it might be thriving, as it was in the early 1990s.
It never had the potential to be another Harborplace, like the one in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor that was built by the same company. But it could have been a contender, as Marlon Brando might have said.
You have to wonder if Curry, et al, just didn’t want any competition for all the wonders that their friends, like Shad Khan and Peter Rummell, are promising for the city (if the taxpayers will shell out enough money).
Jaguars owner Khan is revamping the northside east of downtown and Rummell is revamping the south edge of the river. The Landing might have provided competition to their promised restaurants and entertainment venues.
Who knows? Curry is so withdrawn and controlling that it is hard to figure out his real plans, or which ones have been instilled in him by advisers like Brian Hughes.
But surely someone could have come up with something better than Panhandlers Park.