Environmental testing proposed at Metropolitan Park

The property is being considered for incorporation into the Shipyards development Downtown along the St. Johns River.

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The Downtown Investment Authority board of directors will consider a resolution Aug. 19 to allow Iguana Investments Florida LLC to conduct environmental testing at Metropolitan Park.

The resolution states the testing may be performed “in anticipation of preparing an offer” to acquire the property.

Iguana Investments, led by Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan, plans to develop the adjacent Shipyards property near TIAA Bank Field.

Metropolitan Park, at 1410 Gator Bowl Blvd., is the subject of an ordinance expected to be withdrawn from City Council on Aug. 18. The ordinance, if enacted, would refund $1.725 million of federal grant money to avoid the city having to provide a replacement for Metropolitan Park.

City officials wanted to return the unused National Park Service grant money it received in 1981 through the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

Mayor Lenny Curry’s office hoped that returning the money would satisfy the city’s contractual requirement to reserve the property in perpetuity for public recreational use so the park could be redeveloped as part of Iguana’s proposed Shipyards project near TIAA Bank Field.

Under the terms of the grant agreement, if the city sells Metropolitan Park for private development, the state and National Park Service require the city to provide a replacement property equal in size to the park.

The latest site proposal presented by Iguana for the Shipyards incorporates the Metropolitan Park property into the mixed-use Shipyards project.