Today, I convened a meeting with six Jacksonville business owners and local leaders with vested interest in Downtown Jacksonville to openly discuss ways to improve the urban core. Every Jacksonville resident has a vested interest in a strong and vibrant urban core for our community.
Nearly two years ago, I committed to the people of this city that by the time I left office, you wouldn't recognize Downtown Jacksonville. My team and I are focused on that goal and are working hand-in-hand with business and community partners to make that vision a reality. We’ve seen great momentum in recent years and many exciting developments: the new headquarters for FIS, JEA, and JTA; new housing projects and hotels; and investments in key infrastructure like the Emerald Trail, waterfront enhancements, parks, and more.
To put it simply: a lot has happened, a lot is happening, and a lot will happen in Downtown Jacksonville.
A few weeks ago, I was having a discussion with Ambassador John Rood. He and his teams at Vestcor have invested heavily in Downtown Jacksonville with several housing projects. In that conversation, we talked about how a successful revitalization of the urban core is about more than big flashy projects—although those can be important catalysts that build momentum and excitement—but successful revitalization also needs to focus on the details, the small things that make a big difference in attracting people, investments, and opportunities for downtown.
So, I asked John to meet with a small group of business and community leaders to discuss ideas about what quick actions the City can facilitate to spur economic development and confidence in Downtown Jacksonville. After meeting, the group will then present a list of recommendations for how the City can quickly improve downtown’s standing.
Each of of the individuals in this group has successful careers and a vested interest in improving downtown Jacksonville. I look forward to a lively discussion about ways to advance progress, build momentum, and attract even further activity.
As I’ve said time and time again: Great cities deserve great downtowns. So, let's work together to keep our momentum going, and create the vibrant and amazing center of our community that the people of Jacksonville have earned.