by: Katherine Hardwick in Thought Leadership No Comments  
Go Skate Day

Go Skate Day

From large to small, events of all sizes are key in bringing people Downtown.

Earlier this month, Visit Jacksonville released findings from a study on the economic impact of out-of-town visitors at Downtown events. The Jacksonville Jazz Festival had an economic impact of nearly $3 million and brought an estimated 20,000 attendees Downtown, many from out of town. Welcome to Rockville drew 40,000 people to two sold-out days of concerts in Metropolitan Park for an economic impact of roughly $10.3 million. And the second installment of One Spark drew an estimated 260,000 people Downtown with 15% coming from out of town for a economic impact from out-of-town visitors of $1.8 million.

Beyond the numbers, events create memorable experiences that make people want to return to Downtown, spend their money Downtown and support local businesses and cultural venues. This month, Hemming Plaza was home to the third-annual Go Skate Day.

“Downtown has been my skatepark and backyard for decades; to see everyone from the greater Jacksonville skate family and the Downtown community hanging out and shredding Hemming all day together is just the best,” said Go Skate Day organizer Brad Cantrell. “I never thought I’d see this kind of interactivity and cooperation. We’ve a long way to go but, for me, it’s an indicator of a very positive and progressive future for skateboarding and for our city.”

Event partner MOCA Jacksonville worked with Go Skate Day to interact with event-goers and educate them on all the museum offers.”Dozens of families visited our outdoor tent to design their own skateboards using markers, crayons, oil pastels, stickers and collage items,” said Denise Reagan, director of communications at MOCA Jacksonville. “Many others took a break from the heat and enjoyed one of four skateboarding movies shown in our theater. The event is quickly becoming a Jacksonville mainstay that brings a new and diverse audience to Downtown where they learn what the urban core has to offer. Many had never visited MOCA Jacksonville before. We look forward to their return!”

Jaxsons Night Market

Jaxsons Night Market

Events also improve the experience of living Downtown. The second installment of the monthly Jaxsons Night Market drew an estimated 1,100 people and 30 vendors to the vacant lot at the corner of Laura and Adams streets, according to event producer Mike Field. Many residents came out to stock up on goods that they normally have to drive to buy. Vendors were curated to fill in gaps from the existing retail mix in the core of Downtown, including fresh produce, cheeses, baked goods and personal-cleaning products, with the goal to create demand that will encourage business to expand into Downtown.

“There are many creative people that have resourceful ideas on how to make Downtown a vibrant place and contribute to producing a unique, walkable environment Downtown,” said Field. “Pop-up events allow community stakeholders an inexpensive, quick and efficient tool to fill the gaps that break up our urban landscape. As a city, we should promote an environment that enables everyday people to make our neighborhoods better, starting from the bottom up.”

And last week, Mayor Brown announced City Council approved legislation to strengthen the City’s ability to bring even more events to Jacksonville, such as the recently awarded 2016 Women’s Basketball Tournament, which will be played at Veterans Memorial Arena. City Council also approved legislation to improve the fan experience at EverBank Field with the installation of Wi-Fi service for the first time.

by: admin in Events No Comments  

By Hana Ashchi, DVI Intern

How many times do you think we will say “fireworks” in this blog post? Well, that’s one right there.

Get fired up for a weekend full of fireworks, summer-themed events sports, music and more. Here are some Downtown events that are sure to dazzle:

Photos by DVI.

Photos by DVI.

For Independence Day fun:

  • MOSH: In honor of Independence Day, admission will be $4 all day.
  • Jacksonville Suns: Plays the Chattanooga Lookouts with a fireworks spectacular after the game.


-Shipyards at Bay Street: Join in the family fun with water slides,  three-legged race, volleyball, crafts, live music and of course, a great view of the fireworks.
-The Jacksonville Landing: Enjoy live music, drink specials and a beautiful view of the St. Johns River. Live music includes the singing of the National Anthem prior to the fireworks show by nationally recorded singer Tarralyn Ramsey, who’s wowed audiences of The Voice and the X-Factor.
-Friendship Fountain Park: Bring the family and experience the coolest activities presented by MOSH along with barbecue from Woody’s BBQ.

Wait! There’s more. Saturday, July 5:

  • Luau at Underbelly: Replace your red, white and blue with grass skirts and iconic Hawaiian shirts to celebrate America with live music and hot drink specials.

Sunday, July 6 ends the weekend with:

  • Summer Movie ClassicA Florida Theatre summer tradition, enjoy a screening of A Never Ending Story.

Need transportation? Fear no more for the Riverside Trolley has extended its hours for Fourth of July and will also be going to RAM for the fireworks show. If you do drive, remember parking is free after 6 p.m. and all weekend long.

Remember, these are just the highlights, for even more Downtown happenings July 4 weekend and parking info, visit

(And for the record, we counted eleven “fireworks” mentioned in this post. Boom!)

by: Admin in Art Walk, Events No Comments  

Art Walk happens 12 times a year – well, 11 in 2014 because of New Year’s Day but, regardless, you should never miss one. Especially this one. Really. It’s summertime and Downtown is ready to give you a taste of it in the urban core. There’s more than 50 venues on average that participate in the monthly event, which makes it tough to see everything in four hours. If you need some guidance on what to do this month while you’re walkin’ the walk, here are a few places to start:

1. Ever wonder who Big John is? Here’s your chance to meet him – well, his best brew, at least.


Bold City Brewery releases its summer seasonal beer at Art Walk. Don’t miss the party.


2. Who doesn’t love an eight-piece band with pretty men?


Don’t miss The Band Be Easy rockin’ Hemming Plaza.


3. Tattoos may not be everyone’s thing, but they look real good on some folks.


Some of Jacksonville’s finest body art will be showcased during the BodyArt Walk tattoo show at 7 p.m. at Chamblin’s Uptown Café.


4. Jacksonville’s most interesting man is hosting BodyArt Walk, too.

DSCN0409 (1)
via Jennifer O’Donnell

For the past two years, Dr. Wayne Wood has sported a sleeve.


5. It’s two days before America’s birthday!

Declaration_independence (1)

Birthdays really should be birth-weeks!


6. You can’t have a beach party with out skateboards.


Westside Story-like gangs between surfers and skaters didn’t exist where I grew up. Kona School is bringing out some ramps, so bring your board Downtown.


7. I don’t know about you, but I’ve always wanted to befriend a killer whale and re-enact this scene.


Note: No real orca whales will be harmed in the production of Art Walk. Only drinking Bold City Brewery’s Killer Whale will take place.

Note 2: I hate the catch-phrase YOLO, but for the sake of the blog post….


8. There’s a lot of talk about beer, but remember, Art Walk is Kid President approved.


Well, not officially, but he wants us to make the world a better place, and we’re starting with Art Walk.


9. The truth is, there’s a lot for kids this month.


Spark Grant recipient and One Spark Creator Roux Arts is bringing a mobile community mosaic piece for everyone to help create!


10. And a sand pit.


Let’s see how many kids we can fit in the pit. Sandcastle contest, anyone?


11. MOCA’s Project Atrium makes a great background for pictures.

via me

What a good-looking crowd. This is the last Art Walk to catch Project Atrium: Shaun Thurston.


12. One Spark is back!

Screen Shot 2014-06-25 at 9.48.49 PM
Via @theurbancore

Well, on a big screen. Watch the premiere of the short film about the 2014 festival in MOCA’s theater at 8 and 8:30 p.m.


13. Did I already mention there’s really awesome band playing in Hemming Plaza?

Fans Invasion

Might I add, they are eight talented guys who normally play beach-side.


14. And the Bold City Brewery crew will be here.

Via Bold City

Aren’t they a great looking family?


15. But honestly, do you really need another reason to be Downtown?

via Rob Futrell Photography 

Grab your friends – especially the ones who think Downtown is scary (because we know those guys exist) – and show them what Downtown is really like.

And guys, whatever you do this Art Walk, don’t drink and drive. First-time Uber users, use promo code “ArtWalkJuly” to receive up to $20 off your first ride.

by: Katherine Hardwick in Downtown Vision, Inc., Resident Spotlights No Comments  

The following is from our Downtown column published monthly in EU Jacksonville.

Let’s play a game. How many Google results do you think come up for “Love Downtown Jacksonville” versus “Hate Downtown Jacksonville,” (using quotations for more accurate results)?

Would you guess 780:1? If you did, swing by my office for a gold star.

That’s some pretty positive, if unscientific, insight into the passion for Downtown these days. And why not? Downtown is the source of community identity, culture, history and pride. It’s everyone’s neighborhood and now there is a membership program for everyone who wants to get involved and feed the flames of a Downtown on fire. (Metaphorically, of course.)

Home---Discover-Downtown-Jacksonville_webresJust launched, The Alliance (or more formally, the Downtown Vision Alliance, Inc.) is a group of Downtown residents, employees, business owners and Jacksonvillians from all walks of life who are tired of saying, “Downtown has so much potential.” This is a group of funders, doers, networkers and advocates taking action to make a difference Downtown.

Alliance socials and events connect like-minded members. Networking opportunities open doors and allow members to share or gain professional expertise as well as insight into the issues that shape Downtown. Ideas are formed, nurtured and launched when passionate people come together.

Volunteer opportunities are varied to allow members to chip in wherever their strengths lie. If you’re creative or have a green thumb, clean and green projects may be up your alley. If you’re the life of the party, event volunteering may be for you. If your gears are always turning on projects to turn potential into reality, help lay the framework for something new.

It’s true, Alliance members are asked to put their money where their passions are. All members receive a Discover Downtown card, a small and useful key to unlocking dozens of Downtown deals and discounts. Art and cultural aficionados will appreciate offers when they frequent MOCA Jacksonville, the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, The Artist Series, and the Maritime Heritage Center and Adams Class Museum. Using the card at participating local businesses not only provides discounts on books, clothing, jewelry, toys, spa services and, of course, tasty meals, it allows members to support one-of-a-kind businesses that enrich the character of our community.

While it’s hard to put a price tag on the benefits that members receive, the benefits that members provide are invaluable.

The annual membership fee, beginning at $20 for individuals, supports a wide range of programs through Downtown Vision, Inc. (DVI) targeted at making Downtown more beautiful, more exciting and more welcoming. These range from cleaning and greening endeavors, like replanting the landscape beds in Hemming Plaza, to extending hospitality and safety services through the Downtown Ambassador program to placemaking and programming projects including great new experiences at Art Walk.

Dialogue with Alliance members helps drive decision-making for Downtown. Ideas and feedback from this tuned-in target group inform City and civic leaders.

Lastly, there is no better marketing for Downtown than word of mouth. Alliance members are advocates for all of the places to go, things to do and reasons to love Downtown Jacksonville. Whether it’s sharing a Downtown experience around the water cooler, taking a friend out for one of the Discover Downtown buy-one-get-one offers, or leading a volunteering project Downtown, it’s easy to make a difference in Downtown.

Visit to become a member today.

by: Admin in Events No Comments  
soccer cupcakes

Cupcakes made by yours truly and friends

Once every four years, pretty much every person across the globe is glued to the television or computer watching the World Cup – if they aren’t, they should be. As futbol fever sweeps the nation, it’s no surprise there are Downtown events popping up to celebrate it.

Whether you’re into soccer all year, you’ve mastered the art of painting the American flag on your face or you’re just jumping on the bandwagon, I invite you Downtown to sport the red, white and blue, gather with a ton of folks you may or may not know, jump up and down and chant “I believe that we will win” because Thursday is the final chance for the Americans to escape the “Group of Death.”  Take a long lunch and watch the drama unfold as the U.S. kicks some German butt at one of these Downtown hangouts:



Photo via

Burrito Gallery
21 E. Adams St.
Back bar

Cinco de Mayo 
2 Independent Dr., The Jacksonville Landing
$0.99 tacos and margaritas two for $6.29

Fionn MacCool’s Irish Restaurant and Pub
2 Independent Dr., The Jacksonville Landing
First 25 people to show up wearing a USA jersey receive their first beer free

The Jacksonville Landing
2 Independent Dr.
With nine restaurants, you’re sure to find a seat

Omni Hotel
245 Water St.
World Cup Business Networking Luncheon
11:30-2 p.m., $30 per person includes three-course lunch and beer samples from Engine 15

Zodiac Bar and Grill
120 W. Adams St.
Lunch buffet and drink for $10

CoWork Jax
5 W. Forsyth St.
Open to members and non-members; snacks provided


Start practicing your chanting now, as the game starts Thursday at noon.

In 2013, the City of Jacksonville Planning Department asked Savannah College of Art and Design’s architecture graduate studio to develop ideas for the reinvention and revitalization of The Elbow, Downtown’s nightlife and entertainment district.

Recently, groups of students presented the projects to DVI, The Elbow and the Planning Department. The audience was overwhelmed with creativity the students showcased through the projects.

“Students researched current conditions and developed ideas that would creatively, yet tangibly, respond to the dynamics of human life,” said Professor Arpad Ronaszegi, “while embracing the essence of Jacksonville and celebrating the connection between historic and contemporary, conceptual and experimental, natural and man-made, civic and commercial.”

Here’s a sample of what these architecture students imagined for Downtown:

Reviving the Edge
By Matt Jarosz & Eduardo Frontera

Jarosz and Frontera expanded the existing entertainment zone on Bay Street to include more of Bay Street, the Riverwalk and The Jacksonville Landing. The students focused on making the area more pedestrian friendly and improving connectivity between hotspots. They proposed adding in natural elements such as public spaces with grassy parks, seating and expanding the river to cut into the city streets.

(Click photo to view larger.)



Revitalizing The Elbow in the Urban District
By Fatema Al Aradi and Scott Cook

After their research, Al Aradi and Cook felt The Elbow was disconnected from the rest of Downtown. They proposed using signage to denote The Elbow boundaries and adding a boardwalk extension along the Riverwalk for boat docks. In their renderings, they also included a few new urban parks and more residential, retail and restaurant spaces.

(Click photos to view larger.)



Revitalization of Downtown Jacksonville
By Holly Califano and Aaron Farabee

Califano and Farabee agreed that Downtown Jacksonville needs to restructure its infrastructure to make the area more mobility-friendly by widening sidewalks for pedestrians, instituting bike lanes and increasing street parking. They also proposed infill of low-to-high rise, mixed-use buildings, where more residential, retail, dining and business opportunities may exist. All new buildings would be built by green standards for a more sustainable Downtown.

(Click photo to view larger.)



Jacksonville Arts & Entertainment District
By Anthony Ebanks and Markia Maye

Ebanks and Maye focused on walkability and activity within The Elbow. In their renderings, they used techniques to calm traffic and make the street more pedestrian and bike-friendly by adding a bike lane to all Downtown blocks. A pedestrian street mall on Forsyth Street would create a retail destination and more activities along the Riverwalk such as boat docks, more water taxi stops and a sports complex would become an entertainment hub.

(Click photo to view larger.)



See the Vibe
By Lauren Segall and Christine Ellis

Segall and Ellis want to create unique vibes throughout different districts or areas of Downtown. One district would include more green space along the Riverwalk District with a skate park and a children’s play area. Along with shutting down Forsyth Street to vehicular traffic, they proposed a permanent structure for a farmers market and unique shade structures to create a more pleasant public space during hot summers. Bike lanes, more retail, restaurants, greenery and public spaces were proposed in the renderings as well.

(Click photo to view larger.)


We were pleased to see common threads including a focus on walkability, connectivity and the riverfront among future architect leaders. You can learn more about SCAD programs here.

by: Admin in Thought Leadership 1 Comment  

Photo by DVI

Signal. Line up car. Reverse into spot. Pull forward a few inches. Celebrate your parallel-parking genius. Go have fun.

Trust us – parking in Downtown Jacksonville is easier than choosing what activity to check out once you’re here. With thousands of parking spaces and thousands of events taking place throughout the year, Downtown should not be missed because of a few pesky misperceptions.

There’s no where to park Downtown. Wrong. More than 43,000 spaces are available for your vehicle to call home at lots, garages and meters by the hour, day or month. There are more parking spaces in Downtown Jacksonville than four of five Walt Disney World parks combined. Believe it.

Parking Downtown is expensive. Au contraire. Downtown’s average monthly parking costs are 45 percent less than the national average. Plus, the more than 1,600 metered spaces are free after 6 p.m. and on weekends and holidays.

It’s difficult to find Downtown parking information. We can help. Our parking database contains a map, rates, and contact information for lots and garages. We also have a handy FAQs page to answer common questions.

Friday, June 27, we will host our second-ever “tweet chat” about this always-hot Downtown topic. Feel free to submit your questions in the comment section below. We hope you’ll join us in the Twitterverse to add your perspective:

@DTJax Tweet Chat on Downtown Parking
Friday, June 27
2 – 3 p.m.
Hashtag: #chatdtjax

In the meantime, happy Downtown parking – literally. It’s nothing to frown about.