City Council works on facelift for Hemming Plaza | News

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City Council works on facelift for Hemming Plaza
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Jacksonville, Fla.  -- Hemming Plaza in the heart of the Downtown is the gateway to City Hall, but it is also a park that the city trying to figure out what can be done to broaden its appeal.

A city council committee since January has been exploring ideas with the latest being removing tables, benches and chairs and updating the landscape by repairing planters and flower beds.

Part of the problem is Hemming Plaza's reputation. The park attracts the homeless and people who pass through complain of the plaza being dirty and foul language making it an uncomfortable destination.

"There would be fights and language, just an environment did not want to be around," said Jerry Knowles who works downtown noting he no longer makes the plaza a lunchtime place to visit.

Downtown Vision Inc. is an organization that zeroes in on the Downtown looking for ways to bring events to the urban core and make it a destination for everyone.

"We really don't feel a redesign is necessary, incremental changes to Hemming Plaza to help activate it," said Jennifer Hewett-Apperson would give the plaza the jump start it needs.

She points out that Market Square in Houston is a good example of what can be done in green spaces in the heart of a city.

The city is working to come up with recommendations that will not cost a lot of money, yet give Hemming Plaza a new direction and make it once again an appealing destination in the heart of Jacksonville.

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