Piers at the future site of Shipyards West Park need to be replaced, could cost up to $30 million in current designs

Piers at the future site of Shipyards West Park need to be replaced, could cost up to $30 million in current designs
Piers at the future site of Shipyards West Park need to be replaced, could cost up to $30 million in current designs

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Downtown Investment Authority (DIA) met Thursday to talk about how much more money might be needed for projects on both the Northbank and Southbank, including the area known as the Shipyards and the former home of Jacksonville Landing, now called Riverfront Plaza.

The DIA looked at some preliminary designs for the park at what is called Shipyards West along East Bay Street. That included discussing the potential multimillion-dollar cost of replacing the piers there.

The preliminary design for Shipyards West across from the Duval County Jail and Maxwell House has plans for a food court along Bay Street, a boardwalk and green space, among other features.

Preliminary design renderings for Shipyards West Park along East Bay Street in downtown Jacksonville. (Copyright 2023 by WJXT News4Jax – All rights reserved.)

Right now, the design calls for three docks: One where the USS Orleck Museum docks, one for fishing and one for kayak and paddleboard rentals. But designers say the piers there now have to be torn down and rebuilt, which could come with a hefty price tag of between $10 million and $30 million.

“We love the design concept of being able to use these and create a cove that’s protected. It’s going to be a budget challenge though. So that’s probably going to be a subsequent phase. And maybe there are some design techniques that can reduce costs that we need to look at,” said DIA Director Lori Boyer.

The board seemed hesitant to spend that much DIA money, but said it could eventually become a city-funded project. They all agreed to move forward with the design, but also look at alternatives, such as potentially fewer piers.

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One of the Northbank proposals the board liked was the idea of ​​adding a potential $2 million speaker and video system to the Riverfront Plaza. The system will be able to project films or video displays onto the side of the adjacent performing arts center.

Current design of Riverfront Plaza, the former home of Jacksonville Landing. (Copyright 2023 by WJXT News4Jax – All rights reserved.)

Boyer said the Riverfront Plaza park’s design is nearly complete and the first phase of construction could begin in June on the west side.

“It will include the playground, which will include a large festival lawn area, and part of the conversation today was that there was also a future restaurant block development there and how we wanted to move forward with architectural, at least concept drawings, of what that would look out, Boyer said.

Over on the Southbank, there were discussions about converting Flagler Avenue near Treaty Oak Park to a bike-friendly road that connects to the river, a new dog park under I-95 in San Marco along Broadcast Place and expanding the Southbank riverwalk.

The meeting on Thursday was just a workshop to hear ideas and nothing was finalized. In the next few months, the board will meet again and decide which projects it wants to pursue.

You can read the full presentation below:

Copyright 2023 by WJXT News4JAX – All rights reserved.

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