Rep. Clay Yarborough of Duval County filed three non-recurring appropriations requests on Friday for various projects totaling more than $4.7 million
Yarborough is seeking funds for Fresh Ministries’ Fresh Path Youth Program, the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens Boater Boardwalk, and Native Fresh Feeding Florida through Aquaponics.
The Republican lawmaker requested $200,000 for the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens Boater Boardwalk to create an ADA-compliant boardwalk.
“The goal is to construct a hassle-free 725-foot elevated boardwalk, in compliance with ADA Standards for accessible design, will provide easy public access for all guests arriving via watercraft, including people with mobility restrictions,” the requests says.
The original boardwalk, according to the request form, was destroyed by Hurricane Irma in 2017.
Yarborough also requested $1.2 million for Fresh Ministries’ Fresh Path Youth Program.
“These funds provide service to juveniles referred from the court system, which will reduce recidivism, increase academic performance and communications, improve (the) character development process, provide mental health counseling for the juvenile and the family, and develop ready to work skills, which all lead to academic enrollment and employment,” the request says.
Additionally, Yarborough is seeking $3.5 million for Native Fresh Feeding Florida through Aquaponics.
According to the request, the funding would help “create a network of climate-smart, organic and highly productive farms, using aquaponics facilities, and training hundreds of new aquaponics farmers/entrepreneurs.”
The request contends the funding would address food insecurity and pandemic-provoked food shortages.
“This kind of agribusiness farming, carried out in any setting (including urban), will facilitate great economic development while establishing healthy, locally grown, farm-to-table produce in our Florida communities,” the request says.
Yarborough’s request comes as state lawmakers prepare to triage Florida’s COVID-19-ravaged budget during the upcoming 2021 Legislative Session.
While Gov. Ron DeSantis’ $96.6 billion spending plan is $4 billion higher than the current year’s budget, lawmakers have already expressed concerns about the proposal.
The 2021 Legislative Session begins March 2.
Yarborough represents Florida House District 12.