For too long, Jacksonville has been described as a city with “great potential.” It’s time to turn that great potential into actions that produce great results for our citizens and communities.
Downtown is the heart of our city and the key to continued economic growth. When investors visit or read about us, we must ensure that they leave encouraged, inspired and impressed.
A strong downtown will attract capital and spur growth and development in neighborhoods throughout our 840 square miles. It’s not a zero-sum game; all of Jacksonville benefits from a flourishing downtown.
We’ve seen ample progress in the past year, and remain relentless in our pursuit of opportunities that will improve our city. It was incredible to see the level of pride, unity, and enthusiasm for our city during the Jags’ AFC Championship pursuit. We must keep this excitement and momentum going.
One of the strategies utilized by dozens of cities with successful redevelopment projects is to maximize the prime real estate surrounding the stadium, arena and baseball grounds and build a mixed-use entertainment district. (See this Jan. 22, 2018 article from the New York Times)
We also need to maximize the potential along our waterfront with projects at the Shipyards property, the old City Hall, and County Courthouse; and overcome long-standing challenges with Berkman II, the Jacksonville Landing, and the Prime Osborn Convention Center.
If you believe in downtown Jacksonville, I call on you to support our efforts with your words and deeds. Share news about our progress and momentum with family, neighbors and critics – near and far. Support the restaurants and businesses that are investing in the downtown area with your patronage. Attend one of the many cultural events and concerts that are happening nearly every day, and be a champion of our community.
Get on board with downtown Jacksonville’s revitalization. Join me in resolving to make 2018 a year of action for the heart of our city.