Jacksonville Hemming Funding, Septic Plan Approved
The Jacksonville City Council approved a host of bills Tuesday.
Hemming Park funding passed 16-3. The septic tank plan passed 19-0. The tree planting bill passed 19-0. And both bills funding Lonnie Miller Regional Park development passed unanimously.
The council will vote on $58,000 for Hemming Park to keep it running until the end of the year. The nonprofit manager Friends of Hemming Park has been under scrutiny for how it spent a million city dollars over the last year. The park’s new interim CEO Bill Prescott said that won’t be the case going forward.
“Sometimes you need an interim leader to get the organization where you want it to be,” he said.
The city will also front the park nearly $75,000 to replace most of a Southwest Airlines grant it spent on operations, which was supposed to fund a restaurant kiosk. The Money will be in an account to either refund Southwest Airlines, fund the restaurant kiosk or a different project Southwest and the city agrees to.
Here’s a full report on the conditions.
The Council is also expected to approve $15 million, which JEA will match, to replace more than 1,000 septic tanks with city sewage hookups.
The two bodies have been discussing the $30 million plan for more than a year. The money would cover building the city line infrastructure and hooking up homes.
The criteria for which houses get the city-funded sewage hookup are heavily weighted for environmental, health and welfare factors, including a health department score and if the homes are near polluted waterways.
Residents in a neighborhood selected for sewer lines would have a year to hook up. If they don’t, they’d be charged roughly $21 per month, the fee for being hooked up.
Here’s a full report on the plan.
A bill being voted on Tuesday would allocate $250,000 for the planting of a tree at nearly every Duval County School.
If the plan passes the full Council, schools will get to pick the type of tree planted on their campuses.
Councilwoman Anna Lopez Brosche said it’s an opportunity for the city to strengthen its relationship with the school district.
Here’s a report on the city’s tree protection funds.
LONNIE MILLER REGIONAL PARK
City Council might vote on allocating more than $3 million for developing Lonnie Miller Regional Park on the northwest side.
Plans include trail improvements, a baseball complex and stage.
Funding two bills for the project didn’t pass out of committees. While the bills received a 3-2 vote, at least four people must vote for a bill to move it to the full Council.
But Councilman Bill Gulliford said last week he’d move to vote on them anyway Tuesday night.
An environmental cleanup would also have to be funded before the park is developed.
A bill is also being introduced tonight to designate Hemming Park as a historic landmark, which would also protect its confederate statue.
Last month, the Jacksonville Historical Preservation Commission voted to recommend Council approve the historical designation.
That bill won’t be debated or voted on until next month.
Here’s a full report on what that designation means.
Editor's note: This article was updated with the result of the Jacksonville City Council's votes.