Call to Action: Support the Mayor’s $9 Million For Downtown Investment

Mayor Brown’s proposal to invest $11 million into Downtown and Jacksonville-wide economic improvements is now in the hands of City Council.

With $9 million of the plan dedicated to leveraging private investment in Downtown, it may not be a simple sell. The funds — a result of successful debt refinancing – will be deposited into an economic development trust fund and distributed by the Downtown Investment Authority. An additional $2 million is slated for citywide economic improvements and expansion.

Some may argue that $9 million is too much for Downtown, or that we’ve already spent enough Downtown.

$1.4 billion has been invested in Downtown between 2000 and 2011. Of that, 20% was federally funded; 1% was state-funded; 18% funded the Better Jacksonville Plan: public projects such as the Main Library, the Veteran’s Memorial Arena and EverBank Field; and just 11% was City-funded. The remaining half was private investment.

Successful Downtowns are built on public-private partnerships, with public investment incentivizing private. The public—Jacksonville residents—desire a successful Downtown, ranking Downtown as the number one issue for improvement by the year 2025 and believe a vibrant Downtown is important to the economic health of the region.

DVI believes this $9 million of capital investment will make the biggest impact for Jacksonville when invested in Downtown, fostering activation and growth of the Downtown tax base.  Join us and voice your support for investment in a stronger Downtown and, ultimately, a stronger Jacksonville. Call or write your council members and ask them to support bill 2013-0089. A short sample letter is provided below.

A public hearing on the bill is set for Tuesday, Feb. 26, at City Hall. The bill will also be addressed by the Finance Committee on March 5 at 10 a.m. and by the Recreation Community Development (RCD) Committee on March 5 at 2 p.m. The final vote on the bill will take place on March 12.

Sample Letter
Dear City Council Members,

A strong Downtown is important to the economic health of the Jacksonville region. I urge you to approve Ordinance 2013-89, which would infuse Downtown Jacksonville with $9 million of capital investment. This sum is essential to leverage private investment that will activate and revitalize our Downtown.