What City Council will discuss Wednesday after meeting delayed by storm

Jacksonville’s City Council will meet Wednesday night after canceling Tuesday night’s meeting because of the weather.

Public hearings are planned on three big talkers.

Riverwalk drinking

One would allow drinking alcohol along the downtown Riverwalk. If approved, people could drink and hang out along the North and South banks of the St. Johns River, while enjoying a great view of downtown.

Under the proposal, people will only be allowed to drink between 11 a.m. and 1 a.m. and will be able to drink beer, wine and other alcoholic beverages only if they are in an approved cup.

Drinking in public parks would still be prohibited, except during permitted events.

The goal is to draw more people downtown.

Sports tourism

City Council president Ron Salem is also introducing an ordinance to promote Jacksonville as a sports tourism destination.

He wants to set aside $1.5 million for the city to compete to host events like the NCAA March Madness tournament.

Jacksonville held the opening rounds of the basketball tournament four different times between 2006 and 2019.

Jacksonville hosted eight teams and had an estimated economic impact of $10 million.

The earliest the city could have the chance to host again would be in 2027.

Laura Street Trio

The council is also considering a plan to use $22 million to support the redevelopment of the Laura Street Trio, a set of historic buildings near the Duval County courthouse that have been vacant for decades.

A developer wants to turn them into a hotel, apartments and retail shops. That project hit a snag last week with the council sending the term sheet back to the Downtown Investment Authority for a review.

The $22 million would be a construction loan, and the city would get the money back.

No final decisions are expected to be made Wednesday night. The meeting is scheduled to start at 5 p.m.

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