Groundwork Jacksonville took another step toward getting public funding for the restoration of McCoys Creek on Monday.
The nonprofit is designing a plan to improve water quality and prevent flooding along the creek between Hollybrook Park and where it empties into the St. Johns River underneath The Florida Times-Union at 1 Riverside Avenue.
Groundwork CEO Kay Ehaus said the idea is to return McCoys Creek to its natural state, which is something called a “natural channel” design.
“Creeks naturally meander and if you look at historic photos of McCoys Creek before it was straightened, channelized and bulkheaded, it was a meandering creek. And when you do natural channel design, it is self-sustaining over time and requires a lot less maintenance,” said Ehaus.
Ehaus said the design phase of the McCoys Creek project will cost around $300,000 dollars.
The organization, she said, has already raised about $48,000 toward that goal. Monday the Jacksonville Environmental Board’s education committee voted to recommend approving a request for $84,000 in funding.
The next step comes July 9 when the full Environmental Board will consider the committee's recommendation to approve the funding.
The rest of the money needed will likely come from private donations.
Ehaus said the actual work on McCoys Creek could get underway sometime next year if the Jacksonville City Council includes funding for the project in its 2019 budget.
Corrected: This story originally referred to Hollybrook Park as Hollywood Park. We regret the error.