January 26, 2022
In The Public Interest
pic of marina in downtown Jacksonville
Credit: COJ.net Metropolitan Park in its heyday.

Metro Park Update

“Land swap” dialogue continues

During yesterday’s City Council finance committee meeting (August 18, 2020), Chair Matt Carlucci requested the Curry Administration to explain why it requested to withdraw Ordinance 2019-0555. The bill, introduced in August 2019, sought approval from City Council to break a grant agreement between the City and the federal government to maintain Metropolitan Park in perpetuity.

Metro Park, called by visionary Mayor Jake Godbold the “people’s park,” was established in the early 1980s. It played host for almost 40 years to the Jazz Festival, rock concerts, Shakespeare at the Met, the World of Nations Festival, Starry Nights symphony concerts, among other events. https://jaxlookout.com/broken-promises/

During the discussion, Carlucci explained that the Park was meant to operate in perpetuity, and that “we are playing with a sacred piece of property.” He recounted, as did people who made public comment, that Metro Park has served as a gathering place for just plain folks who “cannot afford a house to live on the river.”

Brian Hughes, Chief Administrative Officer for the Curry Administration, explained that the bill is no longer necessary. Initially, the bill served to start a “dialogue” with state and federal entities about a potential “land swap,” he said, allowing the City to substitute land elsewhere for the acreage of Metropolitan Park. Since the parties did not agree, Hughes argued that the bill is no longer necessary. He stated, however, that a “dialogue” between federal and state authorities continues on finding suitable locations for the “land swap.”

You may access the video of yesterday’s meeting via this link. Begin at 1:01:28 to view discussion of Metropolitan Park.


Written by
Sherry Magill

Sherry Magill is a community leader and retired private foundation executive. She is a co-founder of Jaxlookout.

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  • The land on which Metro Park sits was acquired with Urban Renewal Federal Funds in the early 70s. Federal Regs require that land acquired with Urban renewal funds can only be sold following two independent appraisals and a review appraisal,to set the value. The funds that built the park were first acquired to be used where the landing was constructed. Once final decision was made,Feds expected the land would be a Park in perpetuity. Anything in any contract that says different is a scriveners error.

Written by Sherry Magill

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