JaxPort Board Votes To Transfer Mayport Land to the City of Jacksonville
New docks planned for the waterfront.
At a special meeting Monday, the JaxPort board voted to transfer land it acquired 10 years ago in Mayport for a cruise terminal that never materialized back to the City of Jacksonville, and funding has reportedly been identified for new docks that will begin long-awaited improvements in the village.
Jacksonville District 13 Councilman Bill Gulliford announced the move at the Oceanside Rotary Club meeting Tuesday morning. He said that the transfer of the land and planned improvements could provide a catalyst for further development in the village that would make it a “destination” in northeast Florida.
The city conveyed the property to JaxPort in 2008, but plans for the cruise terminal were dropped when a long-term commitment from a cruise line could not be secured. It was also strongly opposed by residents of the village. The property sharply declined in value during the economic downturn, and has been fenced off for several years. JaxPort COO Frederick Wong told the board that the authority has tried to find a developer for the property, but none have expressed interest in such a project. “However, there is interest in increasing the waterfront access city-wide,” Wong said. “At this time, JaxPort has no further business for the Mayport property. However, we’d like to see the property be a part of the city’s waterfront initiatives. It would be our intention to share future net revenues derived from either a sale or commercial development of the property.”
Board Chairman Ed Fleming said that he was pleased that the property would be available for development to its highest and best use. “This has gone on way too long, and I’m happy that we’re finally moving forward with this property,” Fleming said.
The vote to approve the transfer was unanimous.
Gulliford has championed the idea of Mayport as a destination for much of his time on the Jacksonville City Council. He also said at the meeting that JTA is looking at the possibility of acquiring a second ferry for the St. Johns River Ferry service. Ridership has been increasing since the beaches communities took up the cause of preserving the ferry, which was eventually taken over by the transportation authority. A second ferry would allow JTA to continue to operate the service when either ferry is taken out of commission for regular maintenance and Coast Guard inspections.