Five Points could get a face lift

by: Leslie Coursey Updated:

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. —

Five Points could be getting a makeover that would include sidewalk dining and public plazas.
 
Annie Hall can be seen dancing in Five Points almost every day.

"It's a good area to work in," she said. Riverside Avondale Preservation has ideas it says will make it even better.

"Make the whole place a lot nicer than it is now," said consultant Stephen Tocknell. 

Tocknell helped create plans that would make the sidewalks on Lomax Street wide enough for outdoor dining and create small public plazas.

"A place where people will want to sit, have a drink, enjoy the sun," he said. 

Plans also include improving traffic flow around the often-confusing beacon so that the area is safer for drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists.

"We would take Lomax, make it one way going east," said City Councilman Robin Lumb.

Lumb got to see the plans this week.  He thinks the improvements are a good idea, a wise way to spend tax dollars. 

"Part of what we're going to be able to accomplish here is kind of straighten out that parking problem that has a spillover effect into residential areas," he said.

"Four dollars is what we think the whole thing would cost," said Tocknell.

That $4 million worth of projects would be completed in phases over time. Phase one would concentrate on improving traffic and the streetscape on Lomax, an estimated $750,000.

Hall said she's all for the traffic improvements.

"There has been plenty of accidents on this corner," said Hall.

She's reserving judgment on the rest.  She said it's hard to improve an area she thinks is already perfect. 

"I like it over here," she said.

The plans now have to work their way through city planners and City Council committees. It would be a public-private partnership, with RAP and Riverside merchants agreeing to pay for engineering studies.