‘It needs an overhaul:’ Downtown Investment Authority in holding pattern as council works on legislation

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Negotiations with downtown developers are on pause as the Downtown Investment Authority waits on the findings of a Jacksonville City Council special committee.


“We’re going to re-write DIA. It needs an overhaul. It’s obviously not working. We have more renderings and empty lots in downtown Jacksonville than any city in America. So, we got to fix that. We got to fix DIA,” Council Member Rory Diamond said. He serves as the Vice Chair of the City Council Special Committee on the Future of Downtown.

Former Council President Ron Salem charged the committee with examining the efficacy of the DIA including “examine and explore what if any amendment, elimination, addition or modification should be considered for the benefit and governance of the City of Jacksonville’s Downtown.”

Diamond said members are looking at giving DIA a set budget and streamlining the process.

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“Take as much of city council, politicians, and lobbyists out of the process. Give it a set budget so we’re not blowing budgets all the time and then actually hold them accountable with actual results,” Diamond said.

The committee was supposed to have its findings by the end of June according to Salem’s memo. But until the DIA knows what’s next, a representative told Action News Jax it’s in a holding pattern because staffers can’t negotiate in “good faith” without knowing their budget.

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“Nobody said halt,” Diamond said. “If you’ve got a good deal, go do the good deal. You’re going to come to city council anyways so it will be fine. But don’t wait, that doesn’t make any sense.”

Diamond said he expects current Council President Randy White to continue the committee when council returns from summer break next Monday.

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