Riverfront Plaza construction set to begin — again
Let's try this again.
Construction of Riverfront Plaza — at the site of the former Jacksonville Landing — will begin Monday for the second time, disrupting traffic in the area.
Work on Phase 1 of the riverfront park was postponed last month to allow fireworks viewing and parking for Mayor Donna Deegan's swearing-in on July 1 at the Center for the Performing Arts.
Phase 1 will involve the western half of the site, including the Northbank Riverwalk. It will include curving walkways, native plant gardens and a cafe with a playground on top of it.
The work will take about a year, so no final cost estimate was available from city officials on Tuesday. But the funding will come from the city's Capital Improvement Plan.
From July 20 through just before Christmas, Hogan and Water streets will be closed in front of the performing arts center, as will Independent Drive at the plaza site.
A second phase will focus on the eastern side of the site next to the Main Street bridge, including a pedestrian ramp with a beer garden beneath it, along with a fountain and other elements. A 44-story residential tower proposed by American Lions LLC is also planned on the site.
The Downtown Investment Authority voted in September on more than $36 million worth of incentives for the American Lions project, according to the Jacksonville Daily Record. The tower will include about 300 apartments and a rooftop restaurant on about an acre of Riverfront Park.
Phase 2 of the park could start in about a year.
As for the park's proposed 151-foot-tall “Jax” sculpture, originally aimed at the eastern end of the park, no final decision has been made. The Jessie Ball duPont Fund was working with the artist and experts to refine the design and cost, city officials said.
The initial design, which spelled out "Jax" in shiny script, had mixed reviews. Its construction will require private donations, city officials said.