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JACKSONVILLE, FL-The Florida Times Union reports that construction will begin in January on a close to $3 million refurbishment of Laura Street. By the end of 2010, a four-block stretch of the street will become pedestrian friendly in an effort to spur the CBD toward a more user-friendly image.

The Times Union quotes Jacksonville mayor John Peyton as saying that the Laura Street overhaul will be the “cornerstone of a walkable, vibrant downtown.” This is why some of the improvements will include opening the street to two-way traffic, providing wider, more inviting sidewalks and replacing a traffic light at a dead end with a roundabout, the article says.

The mayor says the Laura Street rehab could be the first of many changes in building up downtown. Estimated costs of turning the CBD into an active, well-populated area could run between $500 million and $1 billion, which doesn’t include incentives to lure businesses and residential development into the area.

Read more about Laura Street upgrades here.

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