In between my official business meeting calendar, I also schedule in public meetings regarding the Downtown Investment Authority, Redevelopment Committee Meetings and others focused on Downtown advocacy. There is a renewed sense of interest and excitement by many, and their passions are diverse.
Most will agree that an important ingredient to rejuvenate our Downtown is increasing the number of residents. When this subject is approached, the same debate erupts: “…we need more retail to attract residents…but commercial retailers want residents in place before coming on line….” There is a lot of talk, but I challenge those advocates to walk the talk and become a Downtown resident.
Regarding walking, it’s one of the many outstanding benefits of living Downtown and a personal favorite for me. I can walk one block to pick up take-out dinner from b.b.’s, walk across the street to jump on the water taxi for a quick ride over to EverBank Field on game day and, for unwinding after work, a walk along Friendship Fountain and the Main Street Bridge.
On the subject of a walkable community, in less than two weeks, Dr. Richard Jackson, MD, MPH, professor and chair of environmental health science at the UCLA School of Public Health, will visit Downtown. At a November 7 American Institute of Architects Jacksonville chapter event at WJCT Studios, Jackson will discuss community design and how it relates to burgeoning health costs and what citizens need to do about this crisis by looking upstream for innovative solutions. I encourage you to attend.
First step: get people walking! Get people walking Downtown – and ‘walking the talk’ on Downtown.