West State Street Work To Start A Year Early

By Benjamin Cox on November 8, 2023 at 12:19pm

Mayor Andy Ezard says the final leg of the revitalization of Downtown Jacksonville is on deck for 2024.

The revitalization of streetscapes and roadways for Downtown Jacksonville was started in 2010, when the square officially reopened to traffic. Ezard was in his first term as mayor when the square reopened. He had previously served as City Clerk the four years prior while the efforts to reopen and renew Downtown Jacksonville were ramping up.

Ezard says that West State Street and further down South Main will be the final piece: “That’s the big one for 2024, with it carrying forward into the next year on South Main, from College Avenue further south towards the bridge. We’re in budget talks right now. We’re putting the budgets together and getting it out to the aldermen so we have plenty of time, since this is City Clerk [Skip] Bradshaw’s last budget before he retires in February. He wanted to make sure it’s done. Sometimes it gets carried over for a longer period, and we want to make sure it’s tied up before Skip leaves office.”

Ezard says that the final leg will be a challenge with all of the things along and under the street: “We’ve saved West State Street for last because there is a lot more to it and a lot of things that folks don’t realize is underneath the street. The vaults are underneath. I hope the businesses work with us and stay patient, because once it tips off, it will be a disruption. A year later it’s going to be great. It’s obviously going to help the Downtown, but it’s also going to help those merchants and businesses on West State Street. It’s going to help the courthouse with what they’ve already done. It’s kind of piggy-backing off of what they’ve done with their renovations. We are going to try to help them with the street to the east of the courthouse, between there and Rammelkamp Bradney. Then, we are going to take West State down to Church Street. It’s significant landscaping, sidewalk, and it’s ‘the look’. There will be a new arch, too.”

Ezard says West State Street was scheduled originally for 2025, but was moved up because they would like to have it completed for the city’s bicentennial.

Ezard says the street project is likely the largest capital outlay project coming in the new year next to the ongoing renovations at the Wastewater Treatment Plant and the updates at the Nichols Park Pool.