If the name sounds a little boring, don’t be fooled, the Quarterly Operations Meeting gives the public face time with Downtown leaders, including DVI’s directors and board members, the Downtown Investment Authority, the City’s Parking Department, Friends of Hemming Park, the Mayor’s Office and more. DVI’s Operations Meetings are open to all. To be added to the mailing list, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you’re as passionate about #DTJax as we are, you’re sure to enjoy the updates from the January 2015 meeting:
Update: Downtown Investment Authority – Aundra Wallace, CEO
2014 Successes: “We needed to crawl before we could walk.”
- The DIA completed comprehensive Community Redevelopment Area (CRA) and Business Investment and Development (BID) plans, creating a roadmap with short-, mid- and long-term development goals for Downtown. (In review with City Council.)
- The DIA’s $750,000 Retail Enhancement Plan to attract and retain more street-level retail passed City Council, and four projects will received funding pending approval at the January 28 DIA Board meeting:
- A restaurant slated for 120 E. Forsyth St. (near the Florida Theatre)
- Jersey Mike’s Subs, SunTrust Tower, 76 S. Laura St.
- Jimmy Johns Gourmet Sandwiches, 201 N. Laura St.
- Urban Grind Coffee Company, 45 W. Bay St.
- The DIA has also invested in the Friends of Hemming Park for day-to-day park management; financed high-end restaurateurs to turn the long-vacant Bostwick Building into the Cowford Chophouse (to open in 2016); approved a REV Grant for 200 Riverside, to be located next to 220 Riverside and include a hotel; and advocated for the USS Adams to locate Downtown.
- And, by May the results of a Convention Center Study done in partnership with Visit Jacksonville should be released.
2015 Goals: “It’s time to tackle big things.”
- The DIA has issued a request for proposals for an urban waterfront design professional to work with Sleiman Enterprises on a new design for The Jacksonville Landing based on these principals:
- Create an open view corridor between Laura Street and the river
- Incorporate lots of open space
- Creates better connectivity with surrounding streets, buildings and landmarks
- Be visually engaging through its design
- Activate the space day and night
- Be economically sustainable
Aundra also shared feedback from a recent JCCI Forward Forum on the riverfront, saying the consensus was that authenticity is key: “Millennials are not looking for a mall.” And, that the next incarnation of The Landing should be created for locals, not tourists. Creating a place the locals will want to go will naturally drive tourism.
- Additional plans for 2015 include reaching a “go or no go” decision on the Laura Street Trio project by end of first quarter, working closely with the developers of Healthy Town to put 30 acres along the Southbank riverfront back into productive use, working with a consultant on an environment assessment of the vacant Shipyard property and working with JTA on enhanced residential connectivity with Riverside.
Update: Office of Parking Facilities and Enforcment – Jack Shad, Director
- One-third of Downtown meters now take credit cards, but installation costs for the remaining meters is cost-prohibitive for the time being, so the Office of Parking Facilities and Enforcment is issuing an request for proposal for a pay-by-cell phone vendor for Downtown meters.
- The department is looking to hire a Public Parking Accounts Coordinator to liaise with Downtown businesses.
- The parking department is continuing to stripe metered parking spaces in Downtown to make parallel parking more driver-friendly. (As always folks, when you parallel park your front bumper should be in line with the meter.)
- Also, vehicles with a valid handicap tag can park at any meter space for up to four hours for free.
Update: Friends of Hemming Park, Vince Cavin, Executive Director
- Since launching in October 2104, Friends of Hemming Park (FoHP) have been making incremental improvements in the park, most notably, opening Charlie’s Café Monday – Friday, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
- A number of regular programming and activities are in the works:
- Yoga classes are held the first Saturday of each month from 3-5p.m., and more fitness activities are coming soon
- Live music daily
- Regular happy hours
- FoHP’s goal is to hold 20 special events annually
- Design enhancements are also in the works with new park signage to be rolled out by One Spark.
- FoHP is looking for sponsors on four major projects:
- Reading Room
- Kids Zone playground
- Charging Zones
- New stage area (under construction)
- There are many ways everyone can contribute to a successful park:
Update: DVI, Terry Lorince, Executive Director
- DVI’s budget is driven by stakeholder input. Last year’s revenues and expenses are broken out below and the full FY 13-14 Annual Report can be viewed here.
- The largest segment of DVI’s budget goes to making Downtown clean and safe, largely through the Downtown Ambassador program. Below is the annual snapshot of Downtown Ambassador services provided in the Downtown core.