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City will try again to improve Hendricks

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By DAVID BAUERLEIN

The Times-Union

The relocation of unsightly utility lines along Hendricks Avenue in Jacksonville's San Marco neighborhood has faced one delay after another while City Hall hunted for parking spaces, worked to get the project's cost down and put a freeze on it until after Super Bowl XXXIX.

But after rejecting all bids in December 2003, the city opened a fresh round of bids two weeks ago and expects to start construction on a $5.1 million contract a week or so after Jacksonville hosts the Super Bowl on Feb. 6.

Hendricks Avenue is a four-lane road from downtown's Southbank to San Marco Plaza. The city will turn it into a three-lane road with widened sidewalks, bike lanes and antique-style streetlamps. The utility lines that run along Hendricks will be buried in some places and moved farther off the street elsewhere so they are behind the businesses that face Hendricks.

"The visual will be that there will be no poles along Hendricks Avenue," said Dave Schneider, the city's project manager.

Motorists also will see fewer on-street parking spaces, most notably in the restaurant row of Panera Bread, La Nopalera, Gino's and Quizno's. To make up for the loss of 21 on-street parking spaces in that block, the city has entered into a year-to-year agreement with Swaim Memorial United Methodist Church so 37 spaces in its lot will be for public parking.

The city will pay to repave and stripe the lot, located a half-block off Hendricks. As soon as the construction starts, the city will put up signs directing people to the church's lot, Schneider said.

Kaye Barnauskas, who works on the Southbank, said she's not sure she'll keep going for lunch to La Nopalera, where one of the most popular lunch platters is called the Speedy Gonzales and the plates are still hot when they arrive from the kitchen on diners' tables.

"You know, I really don't know if I would or not because this parking lot is always full," she said while cars circled in the waiting game for a space to come open. "I don't know that would be a lot of help. We're on a lunch hour. The farther you've got to walk, the less time you have to lunch."

Lee Rourk said the loss of on-street parking wouldn't deter him.

"I don't mind walking a little," he said. "I'm not the kind of person who drives around for minutes in a parking lot looking for a spot. I like to get the exercise."

A year ago, the low bid for the Hendricks job was about $6.5 million and the city had a 12-month completion deadline so the work would be done before the Super Bowl. In the recent round of bidding, the city allowed 18 months for construction. The city also changed the requirements for keeping three lanes of traffic open during construction to making sure at least two lanes are open and eliminated the addition of brick crosswalks.

The city plans to have a meeting in January to give business owners information about the construction.

david.bauerleinjacksonville.com, (904) 359-4581

This story can be found on Jacksonville.com at http://www.jacksonville.com/tu-online/stor..._17306085.shtml.

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This will look really nice when it's finished! It's a shame the Trolley doesn't run through San Marco anymore. Then, the office workers could just take that to lunch. I'm glad they're getting rid of those powerlines, and I wish 5 Points could have removed theirs.

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San Marco is a beautiful place that really helps the city out a lot. Improving Hendricks will only improve the area and with all of the new construction nearby, it will be a prime location. This is a must do.

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I hope they realize that when you start tearing up the road,installing new infrastructure for sewer,drainage and underground utilities,you run into possible unforseen problems.That is what happened on Main St. They ran out of money for the entire project,so they only can do 4 blocks instead of the 12 planned.I'm a little jealous because I believe they will finish that project,regardless of the cost ,before they finish the Main St. project. :angry:

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the area is a wonderful part of the city, that when it rains... you will need Noah to come pull you out with his ark. I think the major budget busting part will be the drainag, because there is none now. Maybe Jack Rabbits can finally put away that piece of plexi and the sand bags. And again another project that was supposed to happen before the SB but didn't... do you ever start having that quesy feeling about february? Eliminating the street parking will make going to La Nop for a Speedy with rice a little more effort, but probably safer! anyways, it the thought that counts and at least they are thinking abuot it. As for Main Street, how is that shaping up and how much longer>?? that whole area by the Waterworks and Hogan's Creek is an underground nightmare!!! pipes and caverns placed there in the 20's that aren't any plans ... best of luck.

Thanks

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Here's a new business on Hendricks! Thought I'd post it here:

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Coming soon to San Marco: Uncommon Grounds Coffee Shop. Located on the corner of Hendricks Avenue and San Marco Boulevard, the shop should be open by the end of the month.

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