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City hopes to pump new life into downtown

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Updated: 11/01/2013 11:43 pm
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Pumping new life into the heart of Jacksonville has been the idea all along.

Since last October, Mayor Alvin Brown has been focused on his vision for a vibrant downtown.

"We'll have some good things to announce hopefully next year at this time," he said.

He was onto something because the Downtown Investment Authority along with CRA Consultants are finally narrowing in on a strategic plan. Their vision consists of a more balanced and liveable urban core.

"We need more mixed use with store front retail shops and interacting with pedestrians as they're walking by. We really need to have a walkable city," said Alex Sifakis with JWB Real Estate Capital.

The local developer helped start up World Class Jax, a civic group that supports downtown revitalization and the DIA. Action News obtained the DIA's new plans for the East Bay Street corridor and Laura Street area.

The DIA says they plan to shorten the driving lanes and widen the sidewalks on East Bay Street, making the area more pedestrian friendly. For Laura Street, they look to build on its current assets which means filling those vacant buildings and putting ground level office space to good use. It's an idea Sifakis agrees with.

"We have to get some people living downtown so we need to incentivize some residential development," he said. This time next year downtown will likely have a whole new look.
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