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A New Mayport Waterfront Park Could Open By Late Summer

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Lindesy Kilbride
/
WJCT News
Part of this waterfront Mayport property could be opened to the public as a park by late summer, according to City Councilman Bill Gulliford.

This week Jacksonville’s City Council approved the transfer deal of some prime Village of Mayport waterfront property from JAXPORT to the city for $1.

Jacksonville City Councilman Bill Gulliford, who represents the Beaches, hopes the 6.72 acres will ultimately attract developers with the goal of turning it into a mixed use development that could include charter vessels and a seafood processing center.

But he said Friday the first step is getting it opened up to the public as a park - hopefully by late summer.

"We can have some weekend markets in there and just a passive recreational area,” said Gulliford,  adding he’s already reached out to the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation.

Related: Gulliford Plans To Turn ‘Destitute’ Mayport Land Into ‘Incredible Destination'

He hasn’t received an assessment back yet but said it looks as though some northern parts of the property likely could be opened up quickly, and funding that first step won’t be a problem.

“I’ve got money in my district account that I could use for that because I don’t forsee it being a big expense. If need be, then that’s what I’ll do,” said Gulliford.

The councilman also thinks it might be possible to bring the OCEARCH marineresearch vessel to the Mayport property as its new home within a year.

“I think the second thing we want to do as fast as we can is get an agreement with JU and UNF and OCEARCH," he said. 

OCEARCH partners with the Jacksonville University Marine Science Research Institute and keeps the ship there when it's in Jacksonville, said Director Quinton White earlier this month.

As WJCT News has previously reported, the city has $900,000 set aside for building docks and more than $300,000 in state money for the project.

Looking at the long view, Gulliford has previously said he hopes to lure in developers with a federal tax credit called the New Market Tax Credit Program, which encourages private investment in low-income communities through an income tax credit. 

Bill Bortzfield can be reached at bbortzfield@wjct.org, 904-358-6349 or on Twitter at @BortzInJax.