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Saylor

Bishop chooses Saylor for DIA

by David Chapman, Staff Writer

City Council President Bill Bishop has selected consultant, designer and former City Planning and Development Director Mike Saylor to succeed Don Shea on the Downtown Investment Authority.

Bishop said Monday Saylor is a longtime Jacksonville planner, understands design and City planning and has the type of experience the board needs.

"He's well-rounded and has an understanding of what it takes to do large-scale urban design," Bishop said.

Saylor, 62, owns Black Dog Planning, which he established in 2009 after a career in real estate planning and development, according to his corporate biography on his website.

Saylor served as a master planner with engineering firm BHR during the company's contract to upgrade the then-Gator Bowl into what became Alltel Stadium, which is now EverBank Field. After several years, he became the firm's principal stockholder before a merger with Arcadis, an international consultancy, design, engineering and management services firm.

He took a leave of absence from the company to serve as City Planning and Development director for a year beginning in September 2005, working for former Mayor John Peyton.

Saylor said Monday he has served on several boards and worked as a consultant since retiring more than five years ago and is ready to help the authority in its Downtown mission.

"I've been watching from the sidelines and now is an opportunity to get into the game," he said.

He said an authority strictly dedicated to Downtown should help in economic development efforts instead of "trying to the keep our arms around all of Duval County."

As for specific ideas, he said it is early and he is eager to work with the other eight members of the board.

Shea resigned from the position after deciding to become the first director of economic development for St. Tammany Parish in Louisiana, a role which he will begin Jan. 28.

He was the Jacksonville Civic Council executive director and served as an executive-on-loan to Mayor Alvin Brown early in Brown's term.

Shea also worked with City Council in passing Brown's three-part economic development reform legislation, which included the authority's creation.

Of the nine-member board, the Council president selected four members.

"He brings to the process a lot of what Don Shea did," Bishop said of Saylor.

Bishop said legislation will be introduced to Council tonight as part of an agenda addendum.

The appointment will then be reviewed by the Council Rules Committee before a final Council vote.

The authority meets at 2 p.m. Wednesday and Saylor said he would attend to answer questions.

dchapman@baileypub.com

(904) 356-2466

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