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Residents around Green Cove Springs, Lake Asbury address county’s future

By Lee Wardlaw lee@claytodayonline.com
Posted 5/25/23

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – District 5 residents had the opportunity to pitch their ideas to county officials to help them create their 20-year Strategic Plan Monday night at the county’s administration …

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Residents around Green Cove Springs, Lake Asbury address county’s future


Posted

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – District 5 residents had the opportunity to pitch their ideas to county officials to help them create their 20-year Strategic Plan Monday night at the county’s administration building.

The meeting focused on residents suggesting which factors they wanted to improve the quality of life in the county, with residents directing their responses toward Peyton Beattie, Community Resource Development Extension Agent at UF-IFAS Extension, and Troy Nagle, Assistant County Manager.

Suggestions filled five pieces of poster paper during the 90-minute meeting. Responses were taped to the wall, and residents voted for the items they deemed most and least necessary.

Among top choices included maintaining and balancing smart growth, infrastructure, conservation, preservation of trees, protecting wildlife, creating green spaces, parks, walking trails, and pocketed green spaces that connect to bike trails, affordable and mixed housing, attracting satellite campuses from universities to attract young people and developing safe nightlife.

Smart growth garnered the most votes, but the infrastructure was the second-most-important option.

Misplanned or unplanned roads, traffic, the safety of crossing roads for children and pedestrians and narrow streets such as County Road 209-A/B were among the category’s wide-ranging list of concerns.

Quality of life factors residents noted included properly timed stop lights, parking on neighborhood streets near Spring Park Elementary, the commute to Jacksonville for working residents, attracting businesses to increase job growth, limiting housing developments to cut down on traffic, improving mass public transit via buses, waterway, and railroads, attracting a younger and more diverse workforce and creating more bus stops close to housing.

Earlier in the meeting, residents were encouraged to list what they liked.

Some of the best parts about Clay included the District Schools and the library system, the opportunity for outdoor recreation, the friendliness of people, the sense of community, the opportunity for business growth, the approachability of leadership, including Sheriff Michelle Cook and her staff.

Meanwhile, some concerns included growth and overdevelopment.

District 5 Commissioner Kristen Burke said, “I felt like we had some really good perspectives. I think there was a lot of positive feedback and ideas from citizens regarding helping congestion and traffic. I felt like the people that were there had mixed feelings on development, but they (demonstrated) positive ideas on how to manage it and (looked) into smart growth and development with the number of people moving here.”

Following the meeting, Nagle addressed some of the concerns.

He said the Jacksonville Transportation Authority’s five-year mobility study for the county is in the process of being finalized, along with Clay County’s Conservation Plan and the Bonded Transportation Program’s roads project, which will create roadway enhancements for six existing roadways and one extension to the First Coast Expressway.

Residents were the second group to be heard among six overall as the county hammers out plans for the future. The first meeting was held last week on Fleming Island.