We’re four short days into February. Already, Punxsutawney Phil has predicted an early spring. And, based on recent announcements, upcoming events and a scan of the local news, we’re predicting a big spring for Downtown. Downtown Jacksonville news stories so far this month paint a picture of excitement, mobilization and the need for community support.
Times-Union/Jacksonville.com: “Downtown’s aspirations must be bold”
“All Jacksonville residents should be heartened by Mayor Alvin Brown’s plans to pump $9 million into revitalizing downtown, which is showing early signs of revival after struggling for years.
Downtown is often described derisively as a challenge. In fact, it represents a splendid opportunity in need only of imagination, investment and commitment.”
Daily Record: “Brown to stump for private investment: DIA to handle public funds“
David Chapman, 2/1/2013
“Mayor Alvin Brown said he will not have a direct influence in how $9 million for Downtown development will be spent, relying on theDowntown Investment Authority to make those decisions.”
Jacksonville Business Journal: “Can $9 million investment spark Downtown?“
Ashley Gurbal Kritzer, 2/1/2013
“The $9 million that Mayor Alvin Brown has pegged for Downtown Jacksonville development projects puts real money behind a revitalization effort that, until now, was built more on good intentions than reality.
In real estate development, $9 million is not a lot of money. But real estate experts say it is enough to fund projects that would make a difference, and that having those funds available will make the projects that would spur revitalization more attractive to developers.”
Jacksonville Business Journal: “Editorial: Now comes the difficult part“
“For supporters of Downtown, it’s good news: By refinancing bonds to a lower interest rate, the city of Jacksonville was able to save $11 million in bond payments, money that Mayor Alvin Brown wants to use for economic development. Under the mayor’s plan, $9 million would be set aside specifically for Downtown.
If only it were so easy.
At some point, the City Council will weigh in on how to use the money. That’s when the dogfight starts.”
James F. Bailey Jr., 2/04/2013
“The mayor said $9 million of the fund will be put into an economic development trust fund to be used by the Downtown Investment Authority for Downtown revitalization…
As a member of the DIA, I am someone who deeply believes we have major projects in Downtown that, when addressed, can have a positive impact on all of Jacksonville. I’m excited about the prospect of having $9 million to invest.
But, as a realist, I know that the mayor, members of the DIA and others have a lot of convincing to do before you’ll concur with the mayor’s proposal and turn over $9 million to the authority.”
Times-Union/Jacksonville.com: “Abel Harding: Downtown Jacksonville needs work on the basics”
Abel Harding, 2/04/2013
“There is a tremendous amount of optimism about downtown Jacksonville’s potential. We’ve seen a steady stream of employers announce their intent to move their workforces into the core. And Mayor Alvin Brown recently publicized his plan to direct $9 million to spur downtown projects. The dreams abound.
But then there’s the reality of day-to-day life downtown and herein room for improvement remains.
…Be innovative in rebuilding downtown’s worker populations. Corporations willing to move thousands into the core are a rarity these days, but new models can work. CoWork Jax, which opened one year ago, is such an example. The co-working space, located on Forsyth Street, has more than 90 members working within its walls. More than a dozen companies have already outgrown the shared arrangement and sought out their own space. Most have remained downtown.”
More than 14,000 JAX2025 survey responses from the Jacksonville community cited Downtown as the number one priority for change. Make your voice heard in the ongoing Downtown conversation. Let your council members know why Downtown Jacksonville is important to you.