Q: Can you give us an overview of the Town Hall meeting that was held on April 15th?
A: We had a good turnout, about 70 people on Zoom. People asked questions in advance and we were able to cover a lot of material. We heard a presentation from a representative from the mayor’s office about the job bill, and JTA’s Nat Ford discussed the decision to use the downtown Skyway to expand into both the Brooklyn neighborhood and the stadium. A public works representative discussed the questions we had received regarding the Jacksonville City investment in raising more money for drainage projects in Mandarin.
Q: What update has been made regarding the traffic situation in Mandarin?
A: This was one of the main issues based on the number of questions and comments about the excessive speeds driven in neighborhoods as well as on roads like Loretto, Brady, Flynn and Losco. Lt. Shannon Hartley is the JSO chief of the Traffic East division, reporting on what he recently called “heavy traffic”. Within two weeks, officials issued more than 200 traffic quotes and issued more than 80 warnings to drivers driving fast. The interesting thing was that about 70 percent of these tickets were written to Mandarin residents, contrary to what is commonly assumed to be people outside of the area who used roads like Scott Mill and Beauclerc as a “breakthrough” to move traffic avoid San Jose Boulevard. So we need to encourage our own neighbors to be aware of their speed while driving.
Q: Were participants able to make suggestions at the town hall meeting?
A: Yes, and one voter had what I thought was a good idea. They suggested adding another lane south on San Jose Boulevard to break into Buckman Bridge and rebuild traffic. I will submit this proposal to the North Florida Transportation Planning Organization (TPO) for consideration.
Q: Is there any relief in sight for the delays in garbage collection in Mandarin?
A: David Searcy of Waste Pro told me that the challenges they face in providing timely service are hampered by their difficulties in recruiting, training and maintaining workers. He has a number of people training right now and is hoping there will be improvements in the next month or two.
Q: What’s the latest on the pickleball courts at William Anderson Memorial Park?
A: The pickleball courts should be ready to play in May. We also aim to add some low voltage lights to expand the use of the courts without affecting the houses nearby.
Q: What else would you consider hot topics?
A: First is the old Village Inn building on San Jose Boulevard. An application has been submitted proposing to become a sports bar called “Time Out”. Due to its proximity to some places of worship, an exception is required for waiver of distance to serve alcohol. The exception goes to the planning committee at the end of April.
As an update for the proposed liquor store a little further south on San Jose Boulevard [April 16]There is a pending agreement between the parties involved to prevent the liquor store from going through and to install a fence next to a nearby company.
Q: Do you have anything else to share with District 6?
A: We have another town hall planned for July 27th. Right now we’re not sure if it will be virtual or in person again. If you missed the April 16th Town Hall meeting, call my office or email. We can then provide you with a link to view the video. If you are interested in a summary report detailing the actions taken by the city council, contact my office.
Q: How can our readers best contact you?
A: Community members can email me at [email protected] or call (904) 255-5206.