The following is a Downtown Vision, Inc. guest blog post as part of our sponsor series. To learn how you can become a DVI sponsor and tell your Downtown story, visit our sponsorship webpage.
By Tori Kaplan, Assistant Vice President, Corporate Social Responsibility, CSX
Whether it’s grabbing a sandwich from a food truck in Hemming Park, volunteering at Hubbard House, or running along the Riverwalk in a “How Tomorrow Moves” T-shirt, it’s more than likely you’ve seen, know or even are a CSX employee.
CSX’s roots in Jacksonville date back to the construction of the earliest 19th century railroads in Florida. In 1960, the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad relocated its headquarters to Downtown Jacksonville in the same building that serves as the headquarters for CSX today – now updated as a contemporary office campus. We’re a railroad operating in the eastern half of the nation and Canada, and our rail cars carry food, apparel, metals, paper, building supplies, automobiles, and many other goods and commodities.
Today, the approximately 2,000 CSX employees who work at our Downtown campus walk from the CSX offices to view the latest performance at the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, try out great restaurants, visit the library, or venture over to Everbank Field to cheer on our Jacksonville Jaguars!
Since we first moved to Jacksonville, we’ve increased our commitment to Downtown Jacksonville through purchasing the 550 Water Street building and investing in upgrades to make both the 500 and 550 buildings Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) certified.
In each of the communities where we work and live, CSX is committed to giving back our time, talent and resources – and that’s evident in many organizations here in Jacksonville like the United Way, Habitat for Humanity and the St. Johns Riverkeeper. We’ve also been a part of the JAXChamber’s Downtown revitalization program, Downtown’s New Front Door, and we’re proud to support Jacksonville’s efforts to be environmentally sustainable through local initiatives, such as recycling containers at One Spark.
Many of our employees also give back to organizations in Downtown Jacksonville in their own ways through our “Dollars for Doers” program, which encourages employee volunteerism through a grant matching program. In 2014, employee service grants contributed more than $45,000 to organizations in Duval County – on top of their own volunteer time.
In an industry focused on measurement – miles traveled, gallons of fuel saved, number of carloads transported – it’s hard to quantify the benefits we’ve received from working Downtown. We can’t measure a beautiful view of the St. Johns River in productivity gains. We can’t count the amount of happiness that comes from visiting Art Walk as a team in additional compensation. We can’t insert the number of calories our employees burn in the Gate River Run on our balance sheet.
However, we can confidently say that Downtown Jacksonville has been a supportive home for our business to grow as a premier freight transportation company serving consumers across North America. As your neighbors, we’re committed to helping to create a Downtown Jacksonville that’s loved by both today’s workforce and the generations that will move tomorrow.