At the request of Jacksonville University, the City of Jacksonville created a working group through the Office of Economic Development to develop a strategy to revitalize the Arlington area to create an environment that is welcoming, attractive, safe and walkable for students and residents in this traditional community. This working group grew into the Renew Arlington initiative that entails a comprehensive review of transportation, public utilities, housing, lighting, land use and zoning issues, public safety, neighborhood retail, and infrastructure including the development of a near-term to long-term plan for transforming the community. Renew Arlington represents the commitment of the City of Jacksonville, Jacksonville University, community organizations, citizens and other interested stakeholders to work collectively for the betterment of Arlington.
Plan of Action
- Creation of an Arlington Community Redevelopment Area
- University Boulevard/Merrill Road Corridor
- Community Grassroots Involvement
The City of Jacksonville, as part of its Renew Arlington initiative, created a Community Redevelopment Area and Redevelopment Plan for three major commercial corridors - University Boulevard, and Merrill and Arlington roads, within the Arlington community. City Council approved Ordinance 2015-738 on November 24, 2015 establishing the University/Merrill/Arlington corridors as a Community Redevelopment Area. A Tax Increment Financing District (TIF) was also approved as part of the Ordinance providing a funding source for the many projects listed in our Master Redevelopment Plan.
The Renew Arlington Redevelopment Plan is intended to serve as a framework for guiding development and redevelopment of the Renew Arlington Community Redevelopment Area over the next 20 years. This Plan incorporates the overall goals and objectives of the numerous redevelopment studies for the area. This Plan addresses financing and implementation strategies, as well as management and administration opportunities. These strategies will continue to be refined as they are implemented. It is clearly intended that special assessments and other revenues may need to be used in conjunction with available increment revenues to achieve stated goals. While based on the most accurate data available, the various strategies and costs identified in this Plan will require additional study and action by the CRA as specific projects are initiated, refined and implemented. The Renew Arlington CRA Redevelopment Plan is on the City of Jacksonville web site at http://www.coj.net/departments/office-of-economic-development/docs/redevelopment-initiatives/renew-arlington-cra_draft-report-10-16.aspx.
Concurrent with the CRA, the City of Jacksonville (CoJ), Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA), JEA, and other stakeholders have formed an infrastructure working group to review the University Boulevard/Merrill Road corridor. This group is reviewing the corridor to develop plans that could include:
- Development and utilization of design guidelines to create a unified look and identity for the corridor.
- Create a safe and pleasant environment that is pedestrian/bicycle friendly.
- Development, installation and maintenance of directional signage to include, but not limited to the following: gateways, parking, university, and retail uses.
- Continue and advance corridor streetscape program and include the business corridor including the residential neighborhoods.
- Relocate select utilities underground
- Continue development and maintenance of infrastructure to include bump outs – define on street parking, traffic calming, reduce crosswalk distances, provide pedestrian refuge, and provide landscaping opportunities.
- Lighting Improvements
- Bus Stops – University Blvd. has 16 JTA Stops
Funding of the Corridor improvements can come from the budgets of the working group members, Local Option Gas Tax, CRA, and other sources.
Although the establishment of a Community Redevelopment Area will provide a significantly positive impact to Arlington, the ultimate success of Renew Arlington will be dependent upon the involvement of Arlington community groups and residents. Arlington is fortunate to have groups and residents that are fully committed to enhancing all aspects of the community. All Renew Arlington partners encourage the groups and residents to collaborate and communicate to fully leverage their efforts. While there are multiple initiatives within Arlington to increase collaboration, Impact Church is leading the Arlington 20/20 with a goal to effect measurable spiritual, community, economic, and social transformation in Arlington by the year 2020. Additional goals may include increased home ownership, improved education outcomes, crime reduction, and additional viable business activity – all to improve the quality of life for those residing in the Arlington community. Arlington 20/20 seeks additional partners to enhance the linkage among Arlington stakeholders. http://www.arlington2020jax.org.