By Ari Sinudom, DVI Intern

We at Downtown Vision know there are a ton of things to do in #DTJax in any given day, but do others? A local Jacksonvillian may have solved that issue. We sat down with Zachary Schwartz, the Founder and CEO of intoGo, a new app on the market that hopes to change the way people find things to do in Downtown and throughout Jacksonville. So, we’ve partnered with intoGo to incorporate all things Downtown.

What is intoGo?

IntoGo is a mobile app, the first of its kind. Unlike other online directories, intoGo learns each user’s preferences to give suggestions for fun things to do. When users swipe right to like something or left to dislike, the swipes teach intoGo the user’s interests so the app can give specific recommendations. IntoGo is strictly about having fun; and covers events, outdoor recreation, destinations, nightlife, dining, shopping, parks and more in the user’s area.  Its mission is to help people explore, experience and enjoy their community, one place at a time. IntoGo has one primary goal: to become the go-to resource when one is wondering what to do.

Google or Yelp list things to do around town, but can’t make specifically tailored recommendations for the user. IntoGo has the innate ability to capture ratings from each user for every recommendation.


Why Jacksonville?

Jacksonville originally drew Schwartz in when his family moved to town. He built a local directory called, then received first place at the 2015 One Spark in the “technology” category and secured investment. Schwartz then met his tech team, who all lived here and became a perfect fit.

Not only does Jacksonville have wide-ranging demographics, but it’s also a second-tier technology market. Residents are tech-friendly but not necessarily tech-savvy, making Jacksonville a perfect test market for intoGo. IntoGo headquarters are located in Downtown at 6 E Bay St.; an area the staff believes is the leading innovation hub in Jacksonville. IntoGo’s team enjoys the amenities and dining within walking distance of its office and is fond of the local businesses that foster and cater to a Downtown audience.

How does intoGo work?

  1. In the Explore section, businesses, events and places are stacked like a deck of cards. Clicking on a card will reveal pictures and details. Users swipe right if they like it, swipe left if they don’t and swipe up to skip. With each swipe, the app is able to learn the user’s preferences.
  2. Under the Guide Me section, users can see businesses, events and places recommended by intoGo. The more you swipe, the more confident the app is at giving suggestions.
  3. Users can set filters to refine their interests and distance. They can also search within intoGo for a specific interest.
  4. All likes are stored in the account tab for easy referencing and are sorted based on what’s closest to the user’s location.

IntoGo is integrated with Yelp and Facebook, making it easy for users to see more information and ratings for a specific interest. At 12 weeks old and 6,000 downloads, the app is clearly making waves and changing how Jacksonvillians do fun.

What’s intoGo’s future?

Schwartz believes intoGo can become a diversified internet tool, from app to web and mobile to desktop, where people go to make plans, to explore when they land in a new city or to figure out where to take that special someone on a first date. The app has more on its way in the coming updates: merging profiles for group suggestions, targeted in-app advertising and coupons, recipes and social elements. IntoGo wants to help enable users to find cool places where they can create memories, share experiences and enjoy life. The app is truly living by its slogan and is making it easy to “Find Fun Faster.”


by: admin in Spotlight No Comments  

By Tenley Ross, DVI Intern

(From left) Lisa Marcus, Sherry JHill and Bill Guerrant sit in a street-legal golf cart on the corner of Laura St. and Monroe St. on May 22, 2015. They use the golf cart to run Downtown tours every Friday from noon to dusk.

(From left) Lisa Marcus, Sherry JHill and Bill Guerrant sit in a street-legal golf cart on the corner of Laura Street and Monroe Street on May 22. They use the golf cart to run Downtown tours every Friday from noon to dusk.

The Jacksonville Museum and Cultural Center hasn’t opened yet, but a piece of it is already rolling around on four wheels. Through Downtown tours using street-legal golf carts, the center will raise money to build historical exhibits and open soon Downtown.

On these “I love Jacksonville” Zip Tours, which run every Friday from noon to dusk, you will zip past iconic Downtown landmarks to learn about Jacksonville’s roots.

Meanwhile, with revenue generated from the tours, the center is building 12 template tradeshow-like exhibits that will spotlight Jacksonville’s different eras of culture and history.

Founder Sherry JHill is a fifth-generation Jacksonville resident, and she said she wants the community to come together and share in the city’s identity through this center.

by: Admin in Events No Comments  

In 32 days, “the world’s largest crowdfunding festival” will once again flood the streets, parks and buildings of Downtown Jacksonville. During One Spark‘s first two festivals, we witnessed murals splash drab Downtown facades, historic vacant buildings burst with life, new businesses find their wings and creative energy pulse through the heart of our city.

One Spark in Hemming Plaza

2014 photo by Outside the Den.

Ready for round three? With one month to go (the festival runs April 7 – 12 this year), we chatted with One Spark CEO and co-founder Elton Rivas about what to expect during One Spark 2015.

by: admin in Events No Comments  

By Amy E. Pittman, DVI Intern

One Spark 2014

It’s been six months since Downtown Jacksonville was flooded with hundreds of excited Creators presenting more than 600 projects during One Spark. The spark has grown, the energy has continued, and the 2014 One Spark winners have been busy. DVI caught up the 2014 winners to see where they are now and how their projects are progressing:

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JAX2025 Community Survey Results

JAX2025 Community Survey Results

“Creating a city of opportunity means investing in our Downtown. We want Downtown Jacksonville to become a vibrant destination for people to work, live and visit. A great city depends on a great Downtown.”

– Mayor Alvin Brown

DVI applauds Mayor Brown’s commitment to a revitalized Downtown and offers full support for the proposed Downtown investments in Mayor Brown’s 2014-2015 Fiscal Year Budget. The budget is currently in review with City Council and will be approved by the end of September.



Revitalizing Downtown Jacksonville

The Jacksonville Landing: As part of revitalization plans, the City of Jacksonville will invest $11.8 million in public infrastructure through the CIP to support the first phase of improvements, including a wider plaza along the Northbank Riverwalk, public space and broader access at Hogan Street. Demolition of existing structures is included. The vision for reinvigorating the Jacksonville Landing includes new retail, housing and event space.

The Shipyards: Mayor Brown has made redeveloping the Shipyards a major priority to continue investment in Downtown. To activate environmental remediation efforts, the CIP makes an initial investment of $1.25 million.

Former Duval County Courthouse: To continue efforts to upgrade Downtown, the former county courthouse will be demolished to provide new opportunities for public or private development. The CIP invests $4.2 million.

Metropolitan Park: The capital improvement plan invests $250,000 to begin the design of a new Metropolitan Park that maximizes its role as an entertainment venue.

Downtown Streets: To continue making Downtown the best experience possible, the City will invest $1 million through the CIP to design the transition from unwieldy one-way streets to more user-friendly two-way streets.

Downtown Lighting and Signage: Both Mayor Brown and the DIA have made enhancing the experience of visiting Downtown a priority. Lighting and signage will be improved through an investment of $1.5 million in the CIP.

Northbank Riverwalk: Mayor Brown supports upgrades of $3 million through the CIP to continue maximizing the potential of the pedestrian park along our river.

Downtown Investment Authority: Mayor Brown proposes providing $1.21 million in annual funding for the DIA through the general fund to finance non-capital projects that will spur interest and investment in Downtown.

FC Armada: As previously announced, the City will partner with new North American Soccer League (NASL) team FC Armada to hold its games in the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville for the next three years. Through the general fund, the City will cover up to $700,000 in operational expenses and make a one-time capital investment of $300,000.

Main Library: The general fund budget would restore hours at the Main Library in Downtown Jacksonville, while the CIP would invest in public spaces at the Main Library.

Downtown Vision: So that the City can be consistent with other Downtown property owners, Mayor Brown proposed a $152,340 increase in the City’s annual contribution to Downtown Vision.

One Spark: To increase Jacksonville’s role and success in this signature, destination creator festival, Mayor Brown supports doubling the City’s direct investment to $100,000, with a similar amount available through in-kind contributions of City services.

Budget items also with City Council for approval are: $750,000 for the Downtown Investment Authority’s Retail Enhancement Grant Program and $1 million seed funding for the day-to-day management of Hemming Plaza (over 18 months).

Please contact City Council to voice your support for Downtown today.


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.

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

Screen Shot 2014-05-09 at 5.33.07 PMIf our homes and workplaces are our first two social environments, a third place is anywhere else we go to socialize. Coined by urban sociologist Ray Oldenburg, third places are everyday gathering places that are the anchors of community life. They are easily accessible – often walkable, are welcoming and comfortable with a set of “regulars,” and usually include food or drinks as a key part of the experience. These are the places where we go to make our own entertainment.

Great Downtowns have great third places. Urban living means trading in backyards for a variety of walkable hangouts. From the bar to the bookstore to the park bench, third places are key in attracting urban workers, young professionals and empty nesters to live Downtown.

In the heart of Downtown, redevelopment is underway on the historic Barnett Building. Emerging as an entrepreneurial epicenter, the building will not only be home to One Spark headquarters, KYN and CoWork Jax, but also to 80 apartments geared toward creative young professionals. Residents and workers will be able to take full advantage of key community amenities such as a green roof on the fourth floor patio and a collaborative conference center and lounge on the 18th floor. A block’s walk away sits our city’s oldest park and original third place, Hemming Plaza.

“We see Hemming Plaza as the front yard for everything we’re doing,” said Steve Atkins, Principal SouthEast Group, the developer behind The Barnett. “A revitalized, reprogrammed Hemming Plaza will be a key community asset for our residents and a central park for Downtown.”

In recent years, Hemming Plaza has been an example of how a third place can leave many feeling disconnected by not engaging the community through activities, events and vendors. Great public spaces don’t just happen. Meticulous behind-the-scenes management is the recipe for success. Pending City Council approval, the Downtown Investment Authority has awarded an $800,000 management contract to the Friends of Hemming Park, with a board comprised of DVI’s Terry Lorince, the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville’s Diane Brunet-Garcia, historian and arts agitator Wayne Wood, Bill Prescott and One Spark’s Vince Cavin.

This management contract will ensure that our city’s oldest third space reconnect with the community through daily activation, cleanings and security. A constant slate of programs, like yoga classes, a reading corner and food truck rallies that evolves to adapt to the community’s wants and needs—especially Downtown residents and workers within walking distance—will be the hallmark of a successful Hemming Plaza.

“Although the park declined for a number of years, it is now making a resurgence,” said Wayne Wood. “The recent One Spark festival and the ambitious goals of Friends of Hemming Park are indicative of the community’s commitment to make this park the center of the growing renaissance of Downtown. Hemming Plaza is on the threshold of becoming not just a pleasant place to visit but a major attraction in the heart of our city.”

Whether it’s a green roof in your apartment building or the park down the street, or simply reading in the Main Library’s scenic courtyard, playing trivia on Burrito Gallery’s back patio or walking along the Riverwalk with neighbors or coworkers, places like these are essential to creating a sense of community. It begins with you – get out and discover Downtown’s third places.