This is Drew Dixon with this month’s Power Poll results on plans for a sculpture and park in downtown Jacksonville at the site of the former Jacksonville Landing.
Power players in Jacksonville are overwhelmingly in favor of some sort of sculpture at the site, but maybe not the one that has been proposed. While social media erupted in opposition to a planned script sculpture at the site and many complained in July that the 151-foot-tall work of art spelled out Lex, Lerp, Lax, Love or many interpretations instead of Jax.
But movers and shakers say the city’s choice of Perkins & Will designers for the development of the Landing site seems solid in general. The project and associated park will cost at least $12 million.
Many Power Poll respondents to this month’s questionnaire are in favor of some sort of sculpture at the site. When asked when it comes to the planned sculpture, 45.5% said they like the idea of a public sculpture, but it needs to be changed or modified before it is erected.
Another 31.8% said the planned stainless steel script sculpture is great and is open to interpretation. That’s what public art is supposed to be. Still, 22.7% of respondents said they can’t tell what the planned sculpture says and it would make Jacksonville a joke.
Community leaders did rally around the cost of the park and sculpture. An overwhelming majority of participants in the poll, 63.6%, said if the city wants a public space that will be a draw for people to come to Jacksonville, the park and sculpture are worth it. Another 31.8% said the city is spending too much money on a park and a sculpture that no one can read. Another 4.5% said they don’t know about the plan or had no opinion.
On the subject of turning the former Landing site, which used to be a business and entertainment hub, into a park with a sculpture, most of the respondents are for it. Some 50% are for the park with the sculpture as a perfect replacement for the Landing. Another 40.9% said they’re down with the park concept, they just want to get rid of the sculpture or at least get something else. And 9.1% said they’d rather the site be turned into a business center.
August’s Power Poll was conducted via email between Aug. 9 and Aug. 12. Out of 101 surveys sent out, 21.78% of the recipients responded. That amounts to 22 people.
This is Drew Dixon and we’ll have another Power Poll in September to see what the movers and shakers in Jacksonville are thinking about critical community issues.