Jacksonville, FL - The City of Jacksonville will pay $750,000 to fix a mistake it says it didn’t cause.
The City Council voted Tuesday night to transfer money to repair a hole in South Liberty Street- between the old courthouse parking lot and Berkman Plaza in Downtown Jacksonville. The hole opened back in 2012 when a private contractor allowed a crane which exceeded weight limits on to the street, according to the City. That caused the street- which is technically a bridge because it is built on pilings over the St. Johns River- to collapse.
Since that time, there has been a lengthy legal debate over who should pay to repair the road. The City now says the hole poses an “immediate public danger”, however, so they’re moving forward with the fix.
“Who owes what will be resolved in the courts, but in the meantime, you can’t just let that thing fester and continue to be a problem,” says City Councilman Bill Gulliford.
The City is shifting money from another project on the Northbank that’s been deemed less critical than this. Gulliford says there was no question this needed to be done, fearing that the City could have been liable for any further accidents or damage that happened in or near that property.
“Let’s get it fixed and move on,” he says.
I asked the Mayor’s Office about any ongoing attempt to recoup the money, but was told by a spokesman that they “don’t discuss legal strategy involving ongoing litigation.”
The Council further voted to shift $500,000 from a River bulkhead project to place new sheet pilings at the Bert Maxwell Park bulkhead. The City says the bulkhead is “failing”, and ongoing erosion could lead to a complete failure.