“$1.1 billion riverfront master plan proposed for downtown Jacksonville”

“$1.1 billion riverfront master plan proposed for downtown Jacksonville”

Photo: Gallery in Jacksonville Daily Record
“Jacksonville developer Steve Atkins says he wants to lead a nearly $1.1 billion redevelopment of mostly city-owned property, including the former Jacksonville Landing, on a stretch of the Downtown Northbank riverfront.

At an invitation-only event June 1 at the Florida Theatre, Atkins presented his ‘Riverfront Jacksonville’ redevelopment plan for about 25 acres along the St. Johns River.

Atkins, who is SouthEast Development Group LLC managing director, says he will try to persuade the city and Downtown Investment Authority to pay for $536 million in a public-private partnership to build 1.8 million square feet of space from the former Jacksonville Landing to the former Duval County Courthouse and old City Hall site, rebranded in 2020 by DIA as The Ford on Bay.

City buy-in

As of May 28, DIA staff and Mayor Lenny Curry’s administration have seen all of SouthEast’s master plan work, according to Atkins.

It is unclear if city officials are willing to accept Atkins’ request for about $500 million in tax money.

Atkins said Goldman Sachs and Piper Sandler together committed to financing the estimated $1.1 billion upfront if the city agrees to an incentives package to repay its share over time…

With all but 2.5 acres targeted as publicly owned, Atkins also would have to convince city officials to change or integrate taxpayer-backed development plans active on the riverfront…

The city also awarded nearly $375,000 in stipends to three national firms in March for a competition to design a 4.5-acre public park at the former Landing site with a selection expected in October.

The DIA and city have renamed the site Riverfront Plaza. DIA CEO Lori Boyer said a plan to put the remaining land on the market for private development after park construction is underway.

Atkins said SouthEast’s team recognizes the park competition but did not commit to keeping the design selected by the DIA should the city agree to work with him.

‘I’m hoping that some of the best (park) ideas are things that we might be able to collaborate with folks on in this plan,’ Atkins said…

Next steps

A spokesperson for Atkins said SouthEast said in a May 30 email the company plans to formally approach the DIA in July with a development proposal.”

— Mike Mendenhall, Jacksonville Daily Record
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For a gallery of renderings of Riverfront Jacksonville, click here

“South Florida teen planting the seeds of life with mangrove nonprofit”

“South Florida teen planting the seeds of life with mangrove nonprofit”

Photo: Mangrolife FB
“Jonah Basi may be 16 years old and a junior at St. Thomas Aquinas High School, but he’s got a big vision for what he wants South Florida to look like in the future.

‘I want to see huge green mangroves all along the seawalls that I know are contributing to that cleaner water,’ he says. ‘A blue waterway that’s reflecting the sky and not reflecting the toxins and everything that’s in it. And a waterway that’s not filled with trash.’

And he’s not waiting for anyone else to do it. Basi, who founded the nonprofit MangroLife, is getting his hands dirty and being the change he wants to see in the world.

‘This is the most important fight there is for me,’ he says. ‘This is the topic of my college application essays. This is all I talk about.’

Heartbroken to see the constant garbage and pollution clogging the Fort Lauderdale waterway behind his family’s new home, he decided to do something about it — not just collecting trash, but seeds of life.

Propagules are the seeds produced by red mangroves. Basi finds them floating on the water, and since last fall he’s been planting them, first along the seawall behind his home, then growing them in tanks and replanting the seedlings in pots as they grow.

‘But those ones, instead of keeping them on our property we’ve always had the intention to transplant them,’ he says.

And that’s how MangroLife was born. Baby mangroves, nurtured by Basi in his backyard until they’re big and strong enough to be replanted where they’re needed most — along the shorelines and seawalls, near ailing waters desperate for the good they bring.”

— Louis Aguirre, Local 10 News, Fort Lauderdale
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“The Florida State Parks Foundation wants to plant ANOTHER 100,000 new pine trees”

“The Florida State Parks Foundation wants to plant ANOTHER 100,000 new pine trees”

Photo: Volusia Country

“It worked last year. Why not do it again?”

“Last week, the Florida State Parks Foundation reached its goal of raising $100,000 in one year to plant 100,000 new longleaf pine trees in our state parks. So why not run it back? The foundation announced Thursday that it is launching a new challenge to raise another $100,000 for 100,000 more trees by Earth Day next year.

‘This campaign has really resonated with the public, and so we have extended it for one more year with the goal of planting another 100,000 seedlings by April 2022,’ foundation president Gil Ziffer said in a press release…

The country’s longleaf pine population is now just a fraction of what it once was, because of development, the use of its wood for timber and storms. According to the foundation, the trees help support more than 30 endangered and threatened animal species…”

— Cooper Levey-Baker, Sarasota Magazine

Read entire article in Sarasota Magazine
Long Leaf Pine Preserve

Community Greening at work in South Florida: “Pine Grove Elementary gets spruced up with 200 trees”

Community Greening at work in South Florida: “Pine Grove Elementary gets spruced up with 200 trees”

Photo: Pebb Capital, Sun Sentinel

“Pine Grove Elementary School in Delray Beach was recently beautified with the addition of 200 trees on its campus.

The newly planted trees are part of a citywide tree relocation program created by Sundy Village and Pebb Capital in collaboration with Community Greening, an urban forestry nonprofit based in Delray Beach, that involves planting 205 trees in areas that need it the most such as rights-of-way, public parks, schools and neighborhoods in Delray Beach, according to Todd Benson, principal of Pebb Capital.

‘We proudly stand behind our corporate social responsibility and want to give back to the community by providing benefits such as better air quality, water filtration, soil stabilization, shade and aesthetic beauty through added foliage.’

The newly planted trees at Pine Grove consist of 50 from Pebb Capital and the rest from the city of Delray Beach, said Mark Cassini, co-director/co-founder of Community Greening…

According to Cassini, Southeast Florida is losing its tree canopy because of storms, diseases and more people moving here.

And planting more trees provides many benefits such as reducing energy usage, lowering the temperature, cleaning the air and reducing flooding, he said…br>
In addition to the tree relocation program, Cassini said that city of Delray Beach funded a tree-planting campaign to plant 10,000 trees in five years. The hope is to increase the city’s tree canopy from 23% to 28%…

The trees planted for this project are Florida native trees such as live oak, red maple, crabwood and South Florida slash pine that have ecosystem and wildlife.”

— Jennifer Shapiro-Sacks, Sun Sentinel

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Visit Community Greening for more information on their programs.

“Arbor Day celebration smaller because of pandemic, but still meaningful”

“Arbor Day celebration smaller because of pandemic, but still meaningful”

Photo: Meghan McCarthy, Palm Beach Daily

“Putting on gray work gloves and yellow helmets, students from local elementary schools Thursday morning helped celebrate Florida Arbor Day by planting a kapok tree at Phipps Ocean Park in Palm Beach.

‘This is hard work. But it’s real good to plant a tree,’ said Ryder Lazzaro, a third-grader at Palm Beach Day Academy.

The 13-foot-tall seedling, planted just east of the Little Red Schoolhouse at the park south of Sloane’s Curve, could grow to more than 100 feet tall and live more than 200 years.

The fast-growing trees, like the one on Lake Trail on the grounds of the Royal Poinciana Chapel, are known for luxurious canopies and thick buttress roots.

The Garden Club of Palm Beach organized the annual event, which was smaller this year because of the pandemic, said Garden Club President Mary Pressly.

‘We’re hoping to inspire students to help their community. Planting trees and watching them grow may motivate them to go into fields like conservation and botany,’ said Pressly, who was among about 40 other town officials, club members and students who gathered under cloudy skies for the event.

While the national Arbor Day observance is in April, Florida and other states celebrate the day to reflect their best planting time…”

— Bill DiPaolo, Special to the Daily News

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“In honor of Sallye Garrigan Jude”

“In honor of Sallye Garrigan Jude”

Photo: Coral Gables Garden Club

“The Coral Gables Garden Club members voted unanimously to dedicate “Project Canopy” to our dear Life Member, Sallye Jude.

The City of Coral Gables honored the Coral Gables Garden Club and Sallye Jude for her environmental work by proclaiming September 22nd, 2020, Project Canopy Day. Sallye, who joined the garden club in 1983, has a long history of promoting environmental causes in South Florida. Sallye is a member of the Sierra Club, a Fellow at Fairchild Botanic Garden, a past Board member of the Fern and Exotic Plant Society, the South Florida Palm Society, and the Tropical Flowering Tree Society. Plus, she has been a major supporter of the Royal Poinciana Fiesta for many years, which celebrates our magnificent Royal Poinciana tree. Her love and interest in trees are well known throughout the South Florida and Coral Gables communities. It is with the deepest admiration that this project is dedicated to her.

She is our “Johnny Appleseed!”

— Coral Gables Garden Club

Visit the Coral Gables Garden Club to learn more about Sallye Jude

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