Two Jacksonville City Council Committees have approved 11-million dollars for economic development. Nine-million will be directed to downtown projects.
The money comes from savings through the refinancing of city debt. The Downtown Investment Authority will oversee the funding for downtown projects, but the city council will still have final say.
DIA vice-chairman Oliver Barakat says there is currently an unprecedented amount of commitment to downtown redevelopment.
He told council members that setting aside the funds sends a message to the community that the city is serious about revitalizing downtown. “Capitalize on your citizen’s energy and passion that exists right now. The non-profit community is stepping up, the business community through Everbank and others have stepped up." Barakat said, "Partner with us, don’t take the wind out of our sails and tell the marketplace that we may not be sincere about downtown revitalization.”
The DIA has not yet decided which projects will benefit from the funds. Barakat says that will come in time as the DIA hires an Executive Director and develops a plan.
The full council is expected to vote on the legislation on Tuesday.