JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — With construction planned to begin Monday, the City of Jacksonville now says the long-awaited Riverfront Plaza project will begin July 5.
The construction has been delayed a month at the request of Mayor-Elect Donna Deegan. First Coast News has reached out to Deegan to ask the reason for this request.
Independent Drive, the road in front of Riverfront Plaza, is where there will be construction. The part of the park closest to the Acosta Bridge will be developed first.
The city's plan is to redesign the road and area there so, there's more park space. This is phase one.
"Where I'm standing and on this way will be part of a park's development," said Kristen Dureaux with Riverfront Parks Conservancy, referencing the park area closest to the Acosta Bridge. "They'll actually widen the riverfront a little bit more, add some green space and then we'll also have a park there as well as a café."
Dureaux and Nancy Powell, another board member with Riverfront Park Conservancy, talked with First Coast News in May about the plans. If you take a close look at the renderings, you'll see the café Dureaux mentions has a playground and green space on top of it.
Jacksonville's 2022 state of downtown report shows Riverfront Plaza will be a $27 million investment.
Phase two of construction will be the development of the part of the plaza closest to the Main Street Bridge.
"The plans show for additional park space with a beer garden, some civic steps, a fountain," Powell said. "There's also going to be lawn space for some events here as well as a proposed 40-story residential tower that will also have some restaurants there."
Phase two designs are not set in stone. This includes the large artwork spelling "Jax" that has become infamously known as "Lerp."
"It's gonna be everything for the city," Dureaux said about the finished product. "It's going to bring people closer together and give the community back to its citizens."
As for what will happen to events like Jacksonville Jazz Festival while construction is underway, city officials told First Coast News in May, they were still working on figuring out alternate locations.