WHY THE CURRENT RIVERWALK CONCEPT
.Has anyone ever questioned the present Riverwalk concept, its history and its evolution?. Have there been any competing or alternative visions on how to develop that part of the Port Orange US 1 corridor? Who’s vision is this anyway? Have we ever considered an alternative vision that would be more advantageous to the citizens of our community? I would like to propose an alternate vision for a Riverwalk development that would cost much less and provide value to the citizens as well as the production of an atmosphere unique to the greater Halifax area that would make Port Orange the art and entertainment Mecca of East-Central Florida. This vision would be similar to what has been created at the Jacksonville Landing.
The Jacksonville Landing is a 126,000 square feet (11,706 m2) shopping, tattoo, dining, clubbing, and historic museum complex in downtown Jacksonville, Florida. It was built by the Rouse Company at a cost of $37.5 million and opened in 1987. It has been compared to New York City’s South Street Seaport, Boston’s Faneuil Hall or Miami’s Bayside Marketplace, all developed by Rouse.
Instead of building two 170 feet high rise condominiums overlooking Dunkin Donuts, Skips Boots, Seven Eleven, and the US 1 corridor blight, why not have a cutting edge arts & entertainment complex that will provide a wide menu of activity and entertainment choices for our community that drives surrounding business to our municipality.
The current Riverwalk concept has one restaurant called Captain Daddy’s, some kiosks, and a few small divided barely usable parks. I think most of our citizens will not frequent Captain Daddy’s, and those that try it will soon get tired of it. I can see Captain Daddy’s ending up as a favorite lunch or after work cocktail hangout for people like Buddy Lacour, Lance Green, Ben Don Burnette, and all the wannabe politicians, realtors, developers, contractors, and politically connected businessmen. This will become an egomaniacal edifice to special interest figures and a social club for the second generation southern plantation owner’s progeny.
A Riverwalk that excludes the high rise condominiums and mirrors the Jacksonville Landing entertainment complex would cost a fraction of what the current Riverwalk complex costs. There would be many restaurants in different price ranges. You could visit for fine dining, eat at a moderately priced venue, or eat at a venue like Hooters, Chicago Grill, TGIF, etc. There would be a variety of music and entertainment venues for a night out on the town. There could be specialty shops, kiosks, and venues for children and families.
A large central area and park with a bandstand that could accommodate concerts and festivals could be designed.
We could have a cutting edge jazz festival, classical music & wine tasting festivals, Martini festivals, Art festivals, various music festivals & special events. There could be a water taxi service that tailors people up and down the river, so they can come from other locations like the Deck Down Under restaurant & adjacent river front venues, and any accessible venues on the east & west side of the Halifax river. With the millions of dollar in TIF money saved we could redevelop the US 1 corridor eradicating blight and encouraging the development of classy riverfront venues that are linked to the Port Orange Riverwalk Landing by the water taxi service that would tailor people back and forth between the Riverwalk Landing and alternative venues down the US 1 corridor.
The City of Port Orange could employ special event coordinators that facilitate a steady stream of special events that would turn Port Orange into the jewel of Volusia County and the arts & educational Mecca of East-Central Florida. The revenue that this would generate for Port Orange would be awesome and the developers would be lining up for the opportunity to be part of this phenomenon. This centralized Riverwalk Landing from which all else would flow could be built for less than $50,000,000 and could be finished in fours years.
I would like to hear if there is anyone out there that could embrace a vision like this. Feel free to expand on this vision because a truly great vision is one that is subject to critical analysis, evolution, and the consensus building and expansion of ideas that goes into a truly improvisational masterpiece.