City Gives Okay To Southbank Riverwalk Conversion Plans

May 21, 2014

Jacksonville officials have given the green light on long-delayed plans to reconstruct the city's Southbank Riverwalk.

Credit Jonathan Zander / Wikimedia Commons

The city’s public works department approved a deal with Crowne Plaza Hotel officials to replace the stretch of the wooden boardwalk behind the hotel with concrete.

The terms of the agreement reached Tuesday will keep the city on budget and on schedule to completing the project by February 2015, public works director Jim Robinson said Wednesday.

"We were all smarter once the heavy construction began on this project...I think that was the big changing point in the discussion," he said.

The Southbank Riverwalk runs approximately from Friendship Fountain east to the Duval County School Board Building. Crowne Plaza owners had previously expressed concern that construction noise would affect customers leading to a years-long holdup.

Jacksonville City Councilman Don Redmond says the agreement came after he met with the hotel’s CEO last Thursday to hammer out a resolution.

"It's just a matter of communication really and like I said we worked it out in an hour and a half," he said.

Under the new agreement, the city agreed to complete the work within a 16-day window using two barges to expedite the process. The work will carry the same price-tag — $17 million — as originally planned.

Jacksonville-based contracting firm The Haskell Company has agreed to perform the work at no additional cost, Robinson said.

"Haskell was able to get from their subcontractors a price hold if it was going to be converted to concrete, so there was going to be no extra cost to them," he said.

Construction on the portion of the pathway is expected to take place from the end of July to the beginning of August.

You can follow Rhema Thompson on Twitter @RhemaThompson.