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Fuller Warren pier project called too pricey

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Fuller Warren pier project called too pricey

Public Works head advises against converting old bridge in his report

By DAVID BAUERLEIN, The Times-Union

Turning the old Fuller Warren Bridge into a river pier for downtown Jacksonville would be too expensive for the city to pursue, city Public Works Director Alan Mosley said Monday.

Mosley made his recommendation to the Jacksonville Waterways Commission after presenting a report that estimated it would cost $2.7 million to make the partly demolished old bridge usable as a pier for fishing and sightseeing.

The Waterways Commission deferred a vote on its recommendation until its May 5 meeting. City Councilwoman Lynette Self, who is chairwoman of the commission, said she wanted to give members time to read the freshly released report. There is no timeline for when the issue will go before the City Council.

Supporters of saving the old bridge told the commission the city shouldn't lose an opportunity to use state-owned land for public access to the river.

"It's real important that we don't run in, tear something down and then realize in a year or two that boy, we should have kept it," said Lad Hawkins, president of the Greater Arlington Civic Council.

Jacksonville resident Andy Johnson said turning the bridge into a pier "would be a wonderful feature for Jacksonville. There is no way you could build another pier with the same qualities" for the same cost as rehabilitating the old bridge.

But Andy Sikes, an administrator at Baptist Medical Center, said turning the bridge into a pier could hurt the hospital's daily operations. The hospital, which is next to the bridge, could face more traffic on already congested streets, and people going to a pier for special events might fill up hospital parking spaces that are needed by employees, patients and their family members, Sikes said.

For more, click here:

http://www.jacksonville.com/tu-online/stor..._18577523.shtml

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I think before you can claim this is cost too much, you need to seriously consider a couple of things.

1. How much will it cost to demolish the bridge?

2. How much will it cost to build a pier from scratch?

Imo, $2.7 million for a public riverfront amenity, like a pier, isn't much, considering it will be a better benefit and improvement to the city's overall quality of life then the $40+ million overpass at Southside and Baymeadows. As for Baptist Medical, we all know they want to see the area turned into a parking lot for them. Since their position is soley a selfish one and they're not going to pick up and move their multi-million dollar facility if the pier is built, I'd take their opinion with a grain of salt on this one.

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Yeah, I think the hospital is being too demanding. When you're located DOWNTOWN, in an urban setting, you're going to have to deal with public spaces and lots of neighbors! Get used to it!

Also, now that Landmar is getting all funky on us, we might not see their pier come into fruition, so this really does need to be considered.

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Imo, $2.7 million for a public riverfront amenity, like a pier, isn't much, considering it will be a better benefit and improvement to the city's overall quality of life then the $40+ million overpass at Southside and Baymeadows. 

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

That's exactly what I thought when I read the story. It's not much compared to the Shipyards fiasco, either.

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Interesting Editorial by Ron Littlepage, regarding the cost of the pier. Its well worth the read.

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Cut high-paid mayor's aide, use savings to create a pier

Public Works Director Alan Mosley, according to a Times-Union report, told the Jacksonville Waterways Commission earlier this week that converting what remains of the old Fuller Warren Bridge into a fishing pier and pedestrian promenade would be too expensive.

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Say what?

No offense to Mosley, but as public works director, he's a worker bee, not a policymaker.

And determining whether a project is worth doing is a policy decision that belongs to the mayor and the City Council.

Mosley based his conclusion on a just completed feasibility study of saving the bridge done by an engineering firm hired by the city.

That study said it would cost $2.67 million to covert the bridge and add parking, lighting and restrooms.

The study also pointed out that the money could be borrowed and paid back in annual payments of $177,000.

That's too expensive?

Excuse me, but if Mayor John Peyton is having difficulty finding $177,000 a year for a project that could be a spectacular addition to the downtown riverfront that would benefit the citizens of Jacksonville, I have a suggestion.

Peyton has packed his office with a plethora of highly paid staffers not seen in previous administrations.

He could eliminate one of those and cover most of the $177,000 payment. They could draw straws to see which one gets the ax. The pier could be named after the loser. It would be like reality TV.

Let's cut to the chase on the opposition to saving the Fuller Warren.

Baptist Medical Center, a neighbor to the bridge, doesn't want it converted to public space. Heck, a pier and promenade might attract riffraff.

That's the same thing the neighbors of every riverfront public space argue.

Too bad. The St. Johns River and publicly owned property such as the old Fuller Warren Bridge and its approaches belong to the riffraff, not to them.

Also don't forget that Peyton is currently begging the Legislature and the Florida Department of Transportation for $130 million or so to make up for budget-busting cost overruns in road projects included in the Better Jacksonville Plan.

And what do the DOT officials that Peyton is buddying up to want? They want to tear down the bridge.

As for the sop about building a new pier at a different downtown location for what it would cost to save the Fuller Warren, that's just what it is -- a sop.

That's not going to happen. The previous administration threw out the same idea five years ago. Don't try walking on that pier. You will get awfully wet.

To do the bridge project right, the Southbank Riverwalk should be extended to connect with it.

That would cost money as well, but much of that cost would be borne by a developer planning a high-rise condominium next to the Acosta Bridge.

The feasibility study on saving the bridge can be read two ways.

Mosley chose the negative. Let's hope the policymakers will see the positives in it.

ron.littlepagejacksonville.com, (904) 359-4284

This story can be found on Jacksonville.com at http://www.jacksonville.com/tu-online/stor..._18594529.shtml.

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Go Ron!! I don't always agree with his rhetoric, but in this case I agree fully.

The only mistake by the city would be to fund both peir projects. I think it should be one or the other. The way things are looking, the Shiyards are quite a few years out. Go for the old Fuller Warren idea and leave the Shiyards plan to the developer.

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*applauds*

Well said Ron. $177k a year is most definetly worth it and I wouldn't miss having Mosley cut from ranks as much as I'd miss not having the pier.

Pier or Mosley?

I'll take pier for $177k, Alex.

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These people are a pack of morans.

1. Any communications that come out of the Mayor's office should come from either Peyton or Wiles anyway, so if there was any straws to be drawn, it should be between those two. This is just part of running any organization, this way you have a unified message, and you don't have to worry about the media tangling words.

2. Granted, drawing straws doesn't take that long, but do these people have nothing better to do than to decide who is going to rip Littlepage a new one?

3. If they are going to draw straws everytime they get bad press, some straw company is going to be really rich! At least Peyton doesn't have to worry about a speech at the ribbon-cutting.

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