by: Katherine Hardwick in Spotlight, Thought Leadership No Comments  

This week, the Florida Times-Union released “Meet the candidate” Q&As for Jacksonville’s mayoral contenders: Omega Allen, Bill Bishop, Mayor Alvin Brown and Lenny Curry. Among the questions including those on the Human Rights Ordinance, mental illness, race relations, Police and Fire pension, each was asked, “What is your top priority for reviving Downtown?” Here is what they had to say:

Omega Allen

 

cand_620

Bio excerpt: A native of Jacksonville and a graduate of William M. Raines, Omega Allen was influenced and molded by the academic and social elite of the African American Community who expected her to excel, achieve, and lead.

Omega has an MBA from Jacksonville University where she graduated Cum Laude. Her academic achievement is a testament to her intellect. She is a Doctoral Candidate and upon completion of her dissertation, she will be awarded a Ph.D. in Public Administration specializing in municipal government. Omega returned to college to obtain the credentials and education needed to successfully lead Jacksonville.

What is your top priority for reviving downtown?

My top priority for reviving downtown is the proper care and relocation of our homeless population. Then the focus immediately switches to attracting new retail, residential, and entertainment venues by offering responsible incentives to utilize the abandoned City-owned properties.

Read the full Q&A here.
View the Supervisor of Elections candidate report here.

P.O. Box 28788
Jacksonville, FL 32226
(904)465-4660

Email: omegaallenformayor@gmail.com
Website: omega4mayor.com
Facebook: Omega Allen for Mayor

****************************************************************************************

Bill Bishop

 

Republican Jacksonville Mayoral Candidate Bill Bishop - Zach Thomas PhotographyBio excerpt: William Bishop, AIA is vice president of Akel, Logan and Shafer, Architects and Planners, a 50-plus-year -old Jacksonville architectural firm. He is a graduate of Lawrence Technological University with a Bachelor of Science in Architecture and of University of Detroit Mercy with Master of Architecture and MBA degrees.

He has been active in Jacksonville and Florida both professionally and in the civic arena for over 25 years. Bill is a two-term Jacksonville City Council Member and served as Council President in 2012/13.

What is your top priority for reviving downtown?

Top priority encompasses many things. Reviving downtown is not as simple as saying “If this gets done we are on our way”. Downtown redevelopment must be a partnership between the City and private business interests. The job of the Mayor is to lead a community vision of what we want downtown to be and the City must be a facilitator working with the private sector to implement that vision. We must once again create an environment where it is profitable for business to be downtown. Other cities have done it and so can we. We are in many ways attempting to create a market in downtown that we have allowed to essentially disappear. There are several things that need to take place simultaneously. They include:

  • Making downtown user friendly so as to send a message to the public that we care about downtown.
  • Expand activate downtown public spaces.
  • Actively recruit and incentivize residential development downtown to increase the core of permanent residents. It is much more expensive to construct vertically than horizontally. The current market will not support the rent structure required in order to develop downtown housing without some sort of incentives.
  • Look at downtown urban planning as a cohesive whole and not a series of one-off projects. For example, the entire Northbank riverfront from the Jacksonville Landing to Metropolitan Park should be viewed and planned as a complete unit and not a series of disconnected parts.
  • Revamp the development process used downtown to be much more streamlined and small project friendly. Right now it is geared to 40- story high rises, the likes of which have not been constructed downtown since 1990.

Read the full Q&A here.
View the Supervisor of Elections candidate report here.

704 Rosselle Street
Jacksonville, FL 32204
904-356-2654

Email: info@billbishopformayor.com
Website: BillBishopforMayor.com
Facebook: BillBishopforMayor
Twitter: @Bishop4Mayor

****************************************************************************************

Mayor Alvin Brown

 

220px-Mayor_Alvin_BrownBio excerpt: On July 1, 2011, Alvin Brown made history by being sworn in as the first African American mayor of Jacksonville. Since his first day in office, Mayor Brown has kept his word and put Jacksonville first.

Mayor Brown has led with a vision of bringing Jacksonville together — working with Republicans, Democrats, and Independents — to create greater opportunities for the city. He has moved Jacksonville forward, and has helped grow the economy, protect taxpayers, and improve education and public safety. Since first being elected, Mayor Brown has put politics aside and has focused on fostering business and employment opportunities for Jacksonville — for which the city has received national recognition.

What is your top priority for reviving downtown?

Before I was elected, I said a vibrant and modernized downtown would be a priority in my Administration. I’m proud to have kept my word and led the way on revitalizing Downtown Jacksonville during my four years in office. My Administration has worked with Republicans, Democrats, and Independents on making today’s downtown a reality. Downtown is now going through an economic and cultural renaissance. I helped create the Downtown Investment Authority (DIA), which has played a vital and positive role in helping to jump-start downtown development. Thanks to my Administration’s leadership and the DIA’s work, Downtown Jacksonville now has clear momentum. In the last four years, we have partnered with the private sector to achieve significant progress for downtown. For example: The Brooklyn area of downtown has been revitalized since 2011, with a Fresh Market, multiple restaurants, and more than 600 new housing units, which will all have a total economic impact of hundreds of millions of dollars for Jacksonville. EverBank has already relocated downtown and Citizens Property Insurance Company will soon be relocating downtown as well — together bringing thousands of new employees to Downtown Jacksonville. We worked with City Council to save the historic Bostwick Building and enable new ownership that will revitalize this critical structure at one of the entrances to downtown, while preserving its historic character. By joining together with a private partner, we have begun to renew the iconic public space at Hemming Plaza to make it safer, cleaner, and more attractive as a venue for community activities.

One Spark has brought national attention to downtown, as has the city’s partnership with the Jaguars in upgrading our football stadium to help attract events from around the globe. As a result of bringing a larger number and more diverse events to downtown venues, over 200,000 more visitors came to downtown in 2013-2014 than in the previous year. The Miami Herald recently said, “Downtown Jax has changed dramatically over the past three years” and “the city core has gone from drab to dynamite.” The Florida Times-Union said it best when they said, “Downtown is roaring to life.” Revitalizing the Jacksonville Landing, developing the Shipyards, and hopefully bringing life back to the Laura Street Trio are priorities for my Administration in taking Downtown Jacksonville to the next level.

I was proud to recently sign the DIA’s redevelopment plan into law, and I look forward to working with DIA leaders, the business community, downtown merchants and residents, the arts and cultural community, and others to help downtown realize its full potential. Over the next four years, I will build on all the success we’ve had over the last four years and continue to invest in Downtown Jacksonville so that it becomes a destination, not a pass-through to other neighborhoods. We can continue to make our city a world-class city, where people want to live, work, and play.

Read the full Q&A here.
View the Supervisor of Elections candidate report here.

1650-302 Margaret St #312
Jacksonville, FL 32204
904-316-4315

Email: mayor@mayoralvinbrown.com
Website: www.mayoralvinbrown.com
Facebook: Mayor Alvin Brown

****************************************************************************************

Lenny Curry

 

XbnRSyTw lenny curryBio excerpt: Lenny Curry is a native Floridian, husband, father, Jacksonville business owner and civic leader. He is a Summa Cum Laude graduate of The University of Florida.

From 1994 to 2002, he practiced as a Certified Public Accountant at PricewaterhouseCoopers, the world’s largest accounting firm, where he was a Senior Manager in the Jacksonville office. In 2002, he became a job creator when he co-founded a Jacksonville based professional services firm, ICX Group Inc. (ICX), providing finance and accounting consulting, executive recruiting and staffing services. Lenny is currently the CEO of ICX and has since co-founded sister companies that provide various information technology consulting and managed technology services.

What is your top priority for reviving downtown?

My first and highest priority should be the same for every elected official; the safety of our communities and the families who live here. Right now, every neighborhood is experiencing an increase in crime. Citywide, there are outrageous rises in violent crime, especially. We see reports every day of young people being gunned down in our streets. We cannot expect a vibrant and growing downtown that is connected to thriving neighborhoods if crime is not addressed. In conjunction with my plan for economic development, I will encourage an unprecedented wave of private-sector investment downtown.

Read the full Q&A here.
View the Supervisor of Elections candidate report here.

3428 Beach Blvd.
Jacksonville, FL 32207
904-994-0298

Email: lenny@lennycurryformayor.com
Website: www.lennycurryformayor.com
Facebook: Lenny Curry For Mayor

****************************************************************************************

2015 Calendar of Election Dates

  • First: March 24, 2015
  • General: May 19, 2015

Additional information on:

  • All mayoral, City Council and sheriff candidates, along with party affiliations, monetary contributions and more can be found here.
  • Upcoming candidate forums and debates can be found here.
  • Checking your voter status can be found here.
  • Polling locations can be found here.

***Downtown Vision does not endorse candidates.***



Leave a Reply

 

Your email address will not be published