The following is from our Downtown column published monthly in EU Jacksonville.
Let’s play a game. How many Google results do you think come up for “Love Downtown Jacksonville” versus “Hate Downtown Jacksonville,” (using quotations for more accurate results)?
Would you guess 780:1? If you did, swing by my office for a gold star.
That’s some pretty positive, if unscientific, insight into the passion for Downtown these days. And why not? Downtown is the source of community identity, culture, history and pride. It’s everyone’s neighborhood and now there is a membership program for everyone who wants to get involved and feed the flames of a Downtown on fire. (Metaphorically, of course.)
Just launched, The Alliance (or more formally, the Downtown Vision Alliance, Inc.) is a group of Downtown residents, employees, business owners and Jacksonvillians from all walks of life who are tired of saying, “Downtown has so much potential.” This is a group of funders, doers, networkers and advocates taking action to make a difference Downtown.
Alliance socials and events connect like-minded members. Networking opportunities open doors and allow members to share or gain professional expertise as well as insight into the issues that shape Downtown. Ideas are formed, nurtured and launched when passionate people come together.
Volunteer opportunities are varied to allow members to chip in wherever their strengths lie. If you’re creative or have a green thumb, clean and green projects may be up your alley. If you’re the life of the party, event volunteering may be for you. If your gears are always turning on projects to turn potential into reality, help lay the framework for something new.
It’s true, Alliance members are asked to put their money where their passions are. All members receive a Discover Downtown card, a small and useful key to unlocking dozens of Downtown deals and discounts. Art and cultural aficionados will appreciate offers when they frequent MOCA Jacksonville, the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, The Artist Series, and the Maritime Heritage Center and Adams Class Museum. Using the card at participating local businesses not only provides discounts on books, clothing, jewelry, toys, spa services and, of course, tasty meals, it allows members to support one-of-a-kind businesses that enrich the character of our community.
While it’s hard to put a price tag on the benefits that members receive, the benefits that members provide are invaluable.
The annual membership fee, beginning at $20 for individuals, supports a wide range of programs through Downtown Vision, Inc. (DVI) targeted at making Downtown more beautiful, more exciting and more welcoming. These range from cleaning and greening endeavors, like replanting the landscape beds in Hemming Plaza, to extending hospitality and safety services through the Downtown Ambassador program to placemaking and programming projects including great new experiences at Art Walk.
Dialogue with Alliance members helps drive decision-making for Downtown. Ideas and feedback from this tuned-in target group inform City and civic leaders.
Lastly, there is no better marketing for Downtown than word of mouth. Alliance members are advocates for all of the places to go, things to do and reasons to love Downtown Jacksonville. Whether it’s sharing a Downtown experience around the water cooler, taking a friend out for one of the Discover Downtown buy-one-get-one offers, or leading a volunteering project Downtown, it’s easy to make a difference in Downtown.
Visit discoverdtjax.com to become a member today.