City Council Weighs Public Access To St. Johns River In Avondale

May 27, 2015

Advocates for closing the access say it is dangerous and unsightly. Those opposed to closing the public access point say it should be made into a park.
Credit Michael O'Connell / Nextdoor.com

A proposal to close off public river access in Avondale has residents passionately split. Many spoke at Tuesday night's City Council meeting.

For more than two hours, locals debated whether the city should close the St. Johns River access point at the intersection of Richmond Street and Little Van Wert Avenue.

Many, like Don Calcer are in favor of the closure. He says the patch of land is overgrown and dangerous.       

Calcer said, "That easement has been used regularly for drugs, fights, fires, sex, truancy, a latrine [and] gang graffiti."

But those opposed say the access point is valuable and should be made into a park.

Wayne Wood, founder of the Riverside Avondale Preservation said, ”We just have to find a cooperative solution with all those stakeholders around it and make it not a detriment to the city, a showplace.”

Carmen Goodwin is executive director of Riverside Avondale Preservation. She says many in the community have taken matters into their own hands. They've already starting cleaning it up and have raised money to keep it up.

If the ordinance passes, the two adjacent homeowners would get ownership of the land.

The city council is set to vote on the matter in several weeks.