For more than 15 years, Downtown Vision has had the privilege of serving #DTJax by creating and supporting a vibrant Downtown Jacksonville and by promoting Downtown as an exciting place to live, work, visit and invest. DVI is closely aligned with the City of Jacksonville’s Downtown Investment Authority in a public-private partnership and we focus on four strategic pillars:

  • Clean and Safe/Ambassador Services: In the last fiscal year, our Downtown Clean & Safe Ambassadors logged 22,000 hours to make #DTJax clean and Downtown a better place.
  • Marketing: The #DTJax hashtag reach exceeded 24 million people reinforcing Downtown as the City’s unique epicenter for business, history, culture and entertainment.
  • Information Management: We crunched the numbers to provide statistics and trends on Downtown development, employment, residential, retail, parking and more.
  • Experience Creation: Our produced events drew more than 200,000 people to #DTJax creating lively streets and supporting our small businesses.

Check out our latest Annual Report, which highlights accomplishments, special projects and financial information for fiscal year 2015-2016. Click here to download the PDF.

 

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Have you ever wondered, what exactly does DVI do in a year? DVI is aligned closely with the vision, mission and priorities of the Downtown Investment Authority (DIA), and as part of this public-private partnership, DVI focuses on four strategic pillars:

  • Clean and Safe/Ambassador Services: In the latest fiscal year, our team of 11 hardworking Ambassadors provided more than 18,000 hospitality assists and removed more than 27 tons of litter.
  • Marketing: We were honored to be recognized by the Jacksonville Business Journal’s for Best Use of Social Media and the International Downtown Association for the #DTJax Twitter Promoter Campaign.
  • Information Management: We crunched the numbers to provide statistics and trends on Downtown development, employment, residential, retail, parking and more.
  • Experience Creation: We brought more than 125,000 people Downtown to the First Wednesday Art Walk and coordinated efforts for The Elbow, Downtown’s Entertainment District.

Check out our latest Annual Report, which highlights accomplishments and financial information for fiscal year 2014-2015. Click here to download the PDF.

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by: Katherine Hardwick in Downtown Ambassadors, Events, Placemaking (2) Comments  
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Credit: @mattbluejayphotography

The Riverwalk will be a bit brighter this Fourth of July, and it’s not just thanks to the fireworks.

If you ask people Downtown what the Downtown Ambassadors do to make Downtown better and safer, there will be a variety of responses. They walk you to your car, stop nuisance activity, pick up litter, give directions and just generally keep an eye on things.

Did you know they also conduct monthly surveys of street lights in the Downtown Improvement District so outages can be reported and fixed to make Downtown safer at night?

Each month, DVI’s Downtown Ambassadors stay on the job until 10 p.m. to identify streetlights that aren’t working properly. Fanning out over the Northbank and Southbank, Ambassadors record the identification number of out lights and the exact location if there is no identification number. DVI’s Director of District Services, Jennifer Hewett-Apperson then uses these surveys to report outages to the appropriate agency and stays in contact to ensure prompt repair.

Since streetlights in Downtown Jacksonville are managed by three different agencies, there’s a lot of behind-the-scenes work. Lights on most roadways are maintained by JEA, while lights on the bridges are maintained by Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT).  Lighting along the Riverwalk is maintained by the City’s Department of Parks and Recreation.

This month, we’ve coordinated with the Parks Department who are working diligently to repair nearly a dozen broken lights along the Northbank Riverwalk–from the Acosta Bridge to The Plaza Condominiums–in time for Downtown’s Fourth of July festivities.

Part of our job at DVI is to understand the nuances of who does what and make sure that regardless of “who’s on first” the issues get resolved. Downtown Ambassadors are capable of resolving numerous issues on public property, including graffiti, human/pet waste, litter, odors, spills, tree falls and weeds. To report a cleanliness or graffiti issue Downtown, you can submit a service request here.

If you’ve every wondered who to call for a sidewalk hazard or broken parking meter, we have a handy list to point you in the right direction, too. And, you can always report a broken streetlight or any other infrastructure concern via a Care Complaint with the City of Jacksonville.

There are a lot of folks involved in keeping Downtown clean and safe on a daily basis, and with everyone’s attention to the small things, we can really make Downtown shine.

 

by: Morgan Albaum in Downtown Ambassadors, Spotlight (2) Comments  

If you’ve seen the nice folks walking around Downtown Jacksonville wearing the bright orange shirts and jackets, you’ve seen the Ambassadors. These guys are here to help, and they’re here to stay. Meet Joshua Givins, a hospitality/clean and safe Ambassador who has been with DVI for almost three years. josh3

Born in Jacksonville, Josh still lives close to the Downtown core. Josh was originally working for a security company when he saw one of the Downtown Ambassadors and asked how he could get involved. He quickly applied and found his way in.

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The Ambassadors use the Taylor-Dunn to transport heavy objects around Downtown.

“What I love most about this job is helping people in need,” says Josh. “My coworkers and I work very hard to make things happen and do our job.” Josh comes in to work each morning at 7 a.m. and leaves around 3 p.m. During his shift, he finds himself helping people in any way he can. He cleans up areas that have debris. He pressure washes buildings and makes sure people find their way around Downtown.

“I witnessed a car accident one time,” Josh said. “A woman hit a control box and I immediately called for help.” Quick to lend a helping hand or alert first responders, Josh’s day-to-day deeds make Downtown a better place. “Another time, I also saw a lady get hit by a car while I was watering the flowers,” he remembers. “First thing I did was call for backup.”

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Keeping the vegetation hydrated is an essential part of maintaining Downtown’s beautiful scenery.

Last month, Josh was nominated for a ROSE Award – Recognition of Service Excellence – which recognizes Northeast Florida’s front line hospitality employees who demonstrate excellent customer service.  “I joked around about it with Bill, my boss,” he laughed. “I was happy to be nominated and recognized.” Although he didn’t win the award, having Josh patrol and maintain the streets is a win for DVI.

While he spends his days fighting crime and helping others, Josh plans to go to school to work in the Fire Department and become an EMT. When Josh isn’t working, he enjoys spending time with his two children, a girl and a boy. He also likes to play basketball and football and is a huge Gator fan.

DSC_3895_webDie-hard Michigan Wolverines fan. Foodie. Loves roller-coasters, movies and, of course, grabbing drinks any night of the week at Dos Gatos. This only scratches the surface of how to describe a Downtown Ambassador familiar to so many – Ambassador Michael.

Always equipped with a friendly greeting and fun story to tell, Mike has enjoyed six years as a Downtown Ambassador, including winning the hospitality industry’s prestigious ROSE Award. “I thought it would be an exciting job to help people out,” he said. “I love making people smile after I’ve helped them.”

And he’s done just that. With those several years under his belt, Mike has plenty of great Downtown memories share. Here are some of his most memorable Ambassador moments to date:

  • He’s brightened days.
    On a walk through Hemming Plaza one day, he came across an older woman who said she was having a bad day. One of her shoes broke, and she didn’t know what to do. Mike took her shoe over to Gus’s, and the shop fixed it on the spot for free. Mike said the woman was so thankful when he delivered her now-repaired shoe back to her in the Plaza.
  • He’s helped thwart crime.
    Last year, he pursued at a safe distance a suspected robber who took cash from a Downtown cafe. He’s also helped apprehend purse snatchers and return several missing cell phones.
  • He’s lent a helping hand.
    About once a week, Mike or Ambassador Lydia helps escort a blind man to his desired Downtown destinations, making sure the gentleman gets safely back on his bus following his errands.
  • He’s kept watch.
    When a hot dog vendor or other street vendor needs a bathroom break or quick cash run to a bank, Mike stands watch until the vendor returns to his/her cart.
  • He’s helped people find their way. 
    About twice a week, he assists Downtown visitors find their cars, whether the vehicles are street-parked or in a garage or lot.
  • He’s welcomed new Downtowners.
    One of his favorite memories, he said, was welcoming and introducing EverBank and C2C Solutions employees to Downtown when the companies moved to the urban core.

Want to meet Mike yourself? Take a stroll Downtown any weekday for dining, shopping or events, and you’re sure to run into him wearing his signature orange Ambassador shirt and smile. For more information on DVI’s Downtown Ambassador Program, visit our informational webpage, which includes contact information and hours of operation.

by: Admin in Thought Leadership 1 Comment  

Angela Bruno, DVI Intern

Before I began working Downtown, I never ventured into the urban core for a night on the town or a day of fun. Aside from my contentment in my Southside “bubble,” I was terrified I would have to park my car miles away from my final destination, forcing me to trek through an unfamiliar urban wilderness. I had visions of wandering through a maze of buildings for hours until eventually collapsing from dehydration. I was a wimp, and I never ventured from my neighborhood to Downtown.

Now, with six months of Downtown strolling, parking, eating and event-going under my belt, I write today to those still stuck in your respective “bubbles.” You can do it! Here’s why:

Parking
Misconception: “There’s nowhere to park Downtown.”
Reality: Parking is aplenty!

Downtown Jacksonville has more than 43,000 public parking spaces. For a frame of reference, Walt Disney World has 32,539. This number includes Magic Kingdom, Epcot, MGM Studios, Typhoon Lagoon and Pleasure Island.

If, like me, you’re a little forgetful, don’t fear! There’s an app for that. Apps like iPark and G-Park will remember where you leave your car, so you won’t have to wander. Or you can always go “old fashioned,” and call our friends in orange: the Downtown Ambassadors are experts in all things Downtown, and will escort you to your car in a flash! For more information on where and when you can park Downtown, visit DVI’s parking database and FAQs.

Walking
Misconception: “Once I finally find an elusive parking spot, I’ll have to walk forever to get to my final destination.”
Reality: Downtown Jacksonville is extremely walkable!

If you’re from my neck of the woods, you shop at the St. John’s Town Center a lot. Say you walk from Target to Maggiano’s – that would be equivalent to walking from the Museum of Contemporary Art to Burrito Gallery at .2 miles.


   

If you find yourself at the Duval County Courthouse at lunchtime, you can also stroll over to Big Pete’s Pizzeria with even fewer steps.

Or maybe you have to park at Publix and walk to my favorite place at Town Center: DSW Shoe Warehouse. That is a half-mile walk, similar to walking from the Main Library to Olio Market.



 

If you’re familiar with Jacksonville Beach, you know that walking from Joe’s Crab Shack to Lynch’s Irish Pub is a quick trip: only .4 miles. Perhaps you’re Downtown and have a hankering for Guinness and a shepherd’s pie: from the parking garage at Clay and Adams to Fionn MacCool’s Irish Pub at the Jacksonville Landing is the same distance.



 

The Bubble
Misconception: There’s nothing Downtown that I can’t get closer to my neighborhood.
Reality: There’s no place like Downtown!

A major factor in my unwillingness to venture Downtown was simply because I was comfortable in my bubble. I ate at chain restaurants, shopped where everyone else around me shopped, and never thought about supporting local businesses.

But then again, why settle for “comfortable,” when Downtown Jacksonville is vibrant, unique and exciting? Where else in Jacksonville can you sip an Intuition beer while perusing millions of used books like in Chamblin’s Uptown and Café?  Sure, you could have the same boring meal for lunch every day, or you could explore Downtown’s many quirky offerings for lunchtime fare, including Chomp Chomp and Pho. A Noodle Bar. Even the nightlife offerings Downtown are dynamic and distinct, including The Elbow venues and The Volstead, a brand new whiskey lounge set to open this August. These aren’t your average, run-of-the-mill businesses, and they’re only Downtown.

    

Has your “bubble” been burst yet? Don’t be scared to park your car, take a stroll, grab a meal and Explore the More!

 

Downtown Jacksonville boasts one of the most beautiful settings in the country – set along the St. Johns River and bathed in sunshine most of the year. At street level, several groups and organizations work hard to keep our Downtown roads, sidewalks and building facades clean throughout the year.

Downtown Vision, Inc.’s Downtown Ambassadors work diligently picking up trash, sweeping sidewalks and pressure-washing public places seven days a week. Last year alone, the Ambassadors removed more than 2,500 bags of trash, swept more than 84,000 blocks, and pressure-washed 720 Downtown high-traffic and soiled areas. In addition, DVI manages the upkeep of Downtown hanging flower baskets and has furnished trash receptacles.

If you want to get in on the action to keep Downtown beautiful, here’s your chance. Join us this Saturday, April 20, for an Earth Day Downtown Clean-up organized by the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront, the City of Jacksonville, Keep Jacksonville Beautiful and DVI.

From 8-10 a.m., local businesses, residents and volunteers are invited to clean up the Northbank core: Jefferson to Liberty, Water to Church streets. Gloves, bags and other cleanup supplies will be provided by Keep Jacksonville Beautiful. Volunteers will also help survey Downtown streets, buildings and lots for graffiti or miscellaneous damage. After the clean-up, the fun continues at The Jacksonville Landing’s annual Earth Day and Ecology Fair.

Interested volunteers can meet at the front steps of The Landing, and all ages are welcome.