‘Big changes are coming’: Jacksonville Chief Resiliency Officer launches town hall meetings

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Jacksonville is taking new steps to fight flooding as an increased risk of sea level rise and climate change threaten some communities.


The City’s first-ever Chief Resiliency Officer is turning to neighbors for help shaping a Jacksonville that protects against flood damage.

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Anne Coglianese is launching a series of town hall meetings that starts Thursday at 6 p.m. at the Legends Center.

Coglianese said her role is, “to prevent residents from ever really feeling major disruptions and impacts from these big changes that are coming to Jacksonville. We can just sit back and wait and see all of the challenges that come from that — or we can be proactive.

In a few decades, Coglianese said the threat of extreme high tides could get 12 times higher. From an average of about four events a year now up to about 50.

Some flooding hotspots across Jacksonville that might sound familiar include downtown, McCoys Creek, and Riverside.

Read: ‘St. Augustine needs protection’: New resiliency study to protect city from future flooding

But Coglianese said with sea level rise, hurricanes could bring flooding to other areas like Julington Creek, Ortega, and areas along the Trout River.

“Those are areas that are far away from downtown, but where we know those flood challenges are very real and where we need to be proactive,” she said.

Coglianese is in the process of working on a Resiliency Strategy which will encourage new projects and policies aimed at change. Some projects already in the works include more than $100 million being spent to restore McCoy’s Creek.

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More than half of Jacksonville is still undeveloped and Coglianese said new policies can impact zoning to keep developments out of danger zones and change the way a home or business is built. She expects to have the Resiliency Strategy done by early fall.  

Community meetings:

Feb. 9

Legends Center 5130 Soutel Dr.

6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Feb. 13

Ed Ball Building 214 N. Hogan St.

6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Feb. 16

Southeast Regional Library

10599 Deerwood Park Blvd. 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.