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: Katherine Hardwick in Downtown Shout-outs, Marketing & Promotions No Comments  

Folio Weekly released their list of 100 Things To Do In Northeast Florida Before You Die, and while the list spans from Amelia Island down to St. Augustine, we’re especially proud of the 18 items found in #DTJax (bolded below). From Folio:

“Here’s the deal: ’Round-about this time of year, the holidayitis sets in, and we’d rather be doing just about anything else other than the Serious Journalism™ that usually occupies this space. We figured this week we’d do something fun instead. And so, without further ado, we present: 100 Things To Do In Northeast Florida Before You Die.”

Check out the top things to do Downtown – Oh, hello, First Wednesday Art Walk; fancy seeing you here – and in the urban core, because Riverside, Avondale, Murray Hill, Springfield and San Marco are the best neighbors a Downtown could ask for:

  1. Have your engagement photos taken at Treaty Oak Park. Everyone else does.Screen Shot 2014-12-18 at 2.03.21 PM
  2. Good: Ride a water taxi to a Jags game at EverBank Field. Better: Go to a game where they actually win. (LOL/JK.) Best: Rock a Speedo at The Clevelander Deck, one of the two in-stadium pools paid for by tax dollars.13731979
  3. Your ears may curse you in the morning, but anyone interested in Jacksonville’s cultural underbelly should spend a Wednesday evening listening — and even joining in — at West Inn Cantina’s Jam Night. Of course, people in the know still call the joint Monty’s (3644 St. Johns Ave., Avondale).

Oct
6th
 

By Amy E. Pittman, DVI Intern

#runDTJax

It’s 7 a.m., and I’m at the top of the Main Street Bridge. My breathing is heavy as I take out my ear buds and lean against the blue railing. My legs are tired from the distance they’ve already carried me, but I know I won’t regret taking a moment to watch the sunlight spilling over into our city to wake it up. Besides the obvious health benefits, the best part of running is exploring, in my opinion. Downtown Jacksonville is a great place to explore through exercise because the terrain is diverse, the sidewalks are safe, and the views from the bridges are perfect.

by: Brett Oakes in Events No Comments  

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Photos by Jay Metz from the Jacksonville Suns

Sitting in my seat next to first base with a hot dog in one hand and a bag of fresh-cooked popcorn in the other, the sounds of the season – baseball season – surround me. The umpire yelling out his calls. The crack of the bat. Fans cheering.

What do I love about baseball in the heart of River City? The smell of the freshly cooked food distributed throughout the crowd, listening to the announcer call out the game play-by-play and watching the sun set behind the grandstands.

In addition to these familiar sights and sounds of the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville, the Jacksonville Suns welcomed two new members to their team this season: Cesar Roman, the athletic trainer, and Scott Smith, the strength and conditioning coach.

Don’t miss out on the action! Here’s a peek at what’s on deck for the hottest team in minor league baseball this season:

Upcoming Special Events

  • Super Hero Night – April 19
  • Easter Egg Hunt – April 20
  • Military Appreciation Night – May 26
  • Jimmy Buffet Night – June 21

Special Guests

  • Dale Murphy former Atlanta Braves player – May 30
  • Mountain Man from Duck Dynasty – June 6

Weekly Events

  • Monday – Belly Buster Mondays
  • Thursday – $5 College Student Nights and Thursday Night Throw Down (with $1 beers!)
  • Friday – Family Fireworks
  • Saturday – Blood Drive

For more information on promotions, giveaways and game events, visit JaxSuns.com. For more fun things to do Downtown, including places to drink or dine pre- or post-game, visit our website downtownjacksonville.org.

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While sitting outside my favorite café where the owner knows exactly what I order every time I walk in the door, it made me wonder: What makes outdoor seating Downtown so popular, and why do people choose it over its climate-controlled counterpart? Could it be the feeling of freedom in escaping the office, the ability to bring our pet with us to catch a breath of fresh air, or to simply enjoy the hustle and bustle of Downtown? Whatever your reasons, outdoor seating or café seating has become a permanent part of urban culture.

Within the last few years, the City of Jacksonville has allowed restaurants to setup outside seating for those who have applied for the permit. Since early 2013, Downtown Jacksonville alone has seen an increase from 17 to 22 businesses with outdoor seating, according to DVI’s recent survey, which includes restaurants, designated smoking areas and seating outside offices.

“It’s great the city allows outdoor seating, and we’re lucky we could expand to the sidewalk,” said Ian Chase, Chomp Chomp co-owner. By allowing cafés and restaurants the opportunity to increase seating outdoors, it provides a quick and inexpensive way for businesses to expand, and it improves the pedestrian experience. For Chomp Chomp, this became a necessity as demand has grown significantly in the last year.

The current cost of a Downtown Jacksonville sidewalk café permit is only $250. Orlando’s price is double at $500, whereas Tampa ($300) and Charleston ($200) are similar to Jacksonville’s permitting cost. DVI encourages restaurants and cafes to take advantage of this opportunity to set up sidewalk seating. For information on how to obtain a permit for your business, visit coj.net.

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 Resident Spotlights No Comments  
Ian

Downtown resident Ian Latchmansingh

Local interactive designer Ian Latchmansingh has called Downtown Jacksonville home for the last four years – and he isn’t going anywhere. A City Place resident, Latchmansingh loves Downtown for its energy, nightlife and proximity to everyday conveniences. We recently chatted with him about what he loves most about living in the heart of the River City:

Why did you choose to live Downtown?

It seemed natural to move Downtown. I think everyone should live in a city versus a suburb just due to the practicality. I tried to set an example by living here.

Where are you from originally, and how did you end up in Jacksonville?

I’m a New York transplant, but I spent most of my youth in Central Florida. I studied graphic design at Flagler College and was head-hunted just before graduation to work as a designer for an interactive agency in Jacksonville.

What is your professional background?

I’ve been an interactive designer for the last eight years. I’m currently the Creative Chair for the American Advertising Federation of Jacksonville and the Lead Experience Designer for St. John & Partners, an ad agency here in Jacksonville. I also have two independent record labels.

What do you love most about living Downtown?

I have both of my banks within walking distance. I can go enjoy the nightlife of Bay Street with relative ease. I like that we have a monorail like the Springfield of The Simpsons. I also like that I can walk to CoWork Jax events. There are also plenty of conveniences (two 7-11’s within a few blocks!).

How would you describe Downtown’s vibe? 

As someone who’s been on the stage and in the audience, I can say that from either perspective there’s definitely a “vibe” Downtown. It’s more progressive here, maybe subversive even. Additionally, I feel like there’s a collaborative tone. I feel comfortable in any bar or club.

What are your favorite Downtown activities?

I’m a huge fan of Olio, particularly because you can add foie gras to any item. The noodle bar (Pho. A Noodle Bar) is pretty cool, too. The restaurants we have Downtown are worth visiting. I also like the clubs included in The Elbow, as they’re now calling it. I don’t think I’ve bothered deviating from nightlife in that area in a while. It’s been steadily entertaining.

What do you think is the biggest misperception about Downtown?

The idea that it can’t be revived. I regularly hear from native residents that they’ve been ‘trying for years’ to inject some vitality into the Downtown area. If you look at the history and note the amount of spending since the white flight of the last century, it’s clear that over the last 10 years there has been some serious investment in improving the urban core. And lately, with groups like Khan’s investors and One Spark, the private sector may be able to give urban Jacksonville the shot in the arm it needs.

If someone was thinking about moving Downtown, what would you say to them?

Hurry up already! Also, there’s a U-Haul center in the urban core.