I am excited about the proposed Orange Park Plazas project, a state-of-the-art mixed use residential and commercial development proposed to be located on Kingsley Avenue in the Town Orange Park.
The overall scope of the projects calls for 100,000-square-feet of commercial space, a community center, a three-story parking garage and 190-plus, one to three bedroom market rate leased apartments.
The overall investment proposed exceeds $60 million and redevelops approximately 10 acres of property formerly owned as a church property which was a non-property tax paying entity.
The new OPP Project will be a for profit tax paying entity providing up to date business and community services for the proposed residents and commercial tenants of the community. Initial property tax estimates will exceed $300,000 to support essential Town services such as Police, Fire and municipal utilities.
As our community continues to grow and our infrastructure continues to age we need to encourage new developments and like investments to offset the cost borne by local residents – it’s a simple economic development principle – If it cost $1 to run government and provide essential services and there is only one taxpayer that taxpayer pays the costs. If there are four taxpayers and the cost of government services is a dollar then each share the burden and only pay 25 cents each.
We should continue to support such economic development efforts to attract more business and commercial housing solutions and diversity in our County. We should encourage smart growth principles and innovative concepts as proposed by the developer. We need to reduce barriers, speed the application and permitting process and work to reduce impediments such as off-street parking regulations like 10 by 20-foot stalls and change them to a 9 by 18 as is a norm in other areas.
As we court developers and encourage new investment, we must be open minded, courteous and polite when considering what is being proposed and provide meaningful input and solutions when asked or community presentations are provided. Misinformation and preconceived ideas based on a false premise are not beneficial for anyone while trying to grasp a new concept or new proposed development.
I for one support the Kingsley Project and am working hard to ensure it is successful and the community benefits long-term as a great place to live, work and play for our families and the community we have come to love.
JJ Harris, President
Clay County Economic Development Corporation