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Jacksonville Councilmember Wants To Clean Up Commercial Corridor Strips

Lindsey Kilbride

The Jacksonville City Council is set to develop an incentive program to attract new businesses to some commercial corridors.

City Councilman Scott Wilson, whose district covers the Southside, said some areas in his district are need to be updated, like where car lots and pawn shops cluster on Beach and Atlantic Boulevards on tiny lots.

“They were developed probably 60 years ago with very little criteria such as parking requirements, landscaping requirements,” he said. “So I'm looking for ways to encourage redevelopment.”

Wilson met with other council members Wednesday afternoon and showed them maps of the low-income and low-employment areas in his district, according to 2012 census data. He said the data could be used as criteria for business incentives in every district.

But Wilson said he wants to make sure poorer areas don’t get lumped together with their more well to-do neighbors when the city decides who deserves help. An area that concerns him is one of the poorest in his district: the Windy Hill neighborhood.

“We develop new areas such as the Town Center and Tinseltown, where you have higher incomes and so that dilutes the incomes of the folks that live in Windy Hill area,” he said.

Wilson said the details will be worked out over the next couple months.

Council members will continue to meet over the next few months to firm up a plan before a full-council vote.

Lindsey Kilbride was WJCT's special projects producer until Aug. 28, 2020. She reported, hosted and produced podcasts like Odd Ball, for which she was honored with a statewide award from the Associated Press, as well as What It's Like. She also produced VOIDCAST, hosted by Void magazine's Matt Shaw, and the ADAPT podcast, hosted by WJCT's Brendan Rivers.