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merlin

Misc. thought for visionaries of downtown Jax.

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"You have to be gutsy enoughto stand up to those who stand in your way. You have to be big enough to admit your mistakes. You have to vulnerable and say, 'I don't know.' You have to be humble enough to surround yourself with people smater and more capable than you. You have to be open and flexible enough to adjust to ever-changing circumstances. You have to go with your gut, the instinct that feels right and knows best. Do what's right, because it's the right thing to do." - Kevin and Jackie Freiberg GUTS!

I came across this list in some of my latest reading and found it somewhat appropriate for the regular users of this forum. This list pertains to anyone involved with anything int he city. This list I feel should be a basis for the continuous rebirth of downtown and it's surrounding burroughs. Jacksonville is going through some great times and showing signs that it can accomodate forward thinking individuals and businesses that don;t subscribe to the "business-as-usual" methodology.

These are just some of my thoughts and feelings. Kudos to everyone for voicing opinions and respecting the voices of others.

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I didn't see a list, but I'll start one and try not to repeat what we discussed in previous threads...

Landlock the Shipyards and make it a riverfront park (with grass instead of cement). We need the 10,000 housing units, but let's get the Southbank towers online and successful before we add more high-end residential.

Public Art- Add benches, water fountains, sculptures and other public art to the sidewalks.

Trash Cans- In the interest of keeping Downtown clean, last week I picked up an empty colt 45 bottle and had to walk 4 blocks with it in my hand before I came upon a trash can. It was 8am, so needless to say I received many strange looks from people who wanted to direct me to place where I could sober up.

Move the Greyhound Station to the periphery of Downtown.

Stop closing streets that lead to the river.

Don

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I'll add a few more to the list. Some of these have been discussed before, but I'll throw them in here anyway.

Prime Osborn

Turn this grand facility back its original use as a central transportation center for Amtrak, BRT, Greyhound, Skyway, Commuter rail, & high speed rail (?).

Skyway

Two words...Expand it. Each of the skyway's legs should be expanded to Five Points, San Marco (FEC RR @ Atlantic Blvd), Alltel Stadium & possibly Springfield. Its time to connect all of these "hot" districts together to create one large urban core.

Commuter Rail

Take advantage of our existing railroads by working out a deal to run commuter rail lines from downtown, into the suburbs. You can easily start up a commuter rail system running to Orange Park, St. Augustine, North & West jacksonville for less than $100 million.

BRT

Only build to lines, one from downtown to the airport and the other from downtown to the beach. Eliminate all planned downtown stops, other than the one at Prime Osborn, where one could transfer to the skyway for downtown and inner city routes.

Hogan's Creek

Restore the creek and all of its adjoining parks, from 8th St all the way to the St. Johns River.

Homeless Shelters

Consolidate them in a centralized area, away from downtown. Maybe in the old industrial areas, just west of I-95, south of Beaver.

LaVilla

Add affordable housing to this district before its too late. With infill development, reconnect the Ritz Theater in an urban fashion with downtown via Beaver, Ashley, & Broad Streets. Convert what's left of the warehouse district (north of Prime Osborn) into loft housing.

Maritime Museum

Expand it by possibly bringing in one of the recently annouced decommissioned battleships, at Mayport, to serve as a floating museum celebrating Jacksonville's history as a major naval and shipbuilding port. This is just about the only type of major cultural attraction that directly relates to this city. Use a part of the Shipyards or Metropolitan Park as the location.

Cruise Terminal

I know the port authority wants it to be east of the Dames Point Bridge, but it would be better for this city to see it located closer to downtown, possibly at the old Ford Auto plant, at the base of the Matthews Bridge. That area of town would definately benefit from humdreds of tourist coming in to board cruise ships.

Brookln

Speed up the process to redevelop this community by possibly bringing in a large developer with enough capital to develop a true urban community where all the pieces work together, instead of selling of small plots of land to different groups (ex. LaVilla).

Mega-Plex Movie Cinema

Go out and do whatever it takes to get one to locate in the heart of downtown, before one pops up somewhere else on the northside of town. This would be the ultimate anchor needed to draw people into the northbank, in the evenings and weekends.

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I think that the list that Merlin was refering to was the paragraph above, where it speaks about GUTS! that simple thing that makes some people leaders and lack of followers. we all understand that Downtown Jax is consider by many in town a "no man's land"... somewhere you go only during daylight>> but that are some pioneers, the courageous few>>> willing to buck the odds and the naysayers, those willing to take the risk to stake a claim to downtown>>>

i have found that there are times in life where one needs to through caution to the wind, to say that i (we) can do it no matter what anyone says. things like "you'll never be able to sell that place in springfield." or "no one will move there!"

Is it easy, NO! is anything truly great easy? NO! and sometimes you will fall down and make mistakes, but you just have to pick yourself up and move on, find better solutions and get it right the next time.

what would i add to the list>>> stop complaining! if you have such a voice against things, then come up with a solution. No body wants the ship terminal in the timucuana reserve, yet nobody come up with a proposal, where else could we put it! instead of being a moaner, be a fixer. a problem solver.

thanks.

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Good point, Crazy Cuban!

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

THANKS..

by the way, i think that the issue with putting the cruise terminal downtown is the size of the ships, they aren't getting smaller... the carnival miracle had 6 ft. of clearance under the Dames Point Bridge>> that pretty much counts out the Matthews and Hart??? but i agree, that would be a really nice place to board>>>

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I agree with a lot of this, but you really can't get rid of parking meters. The point of them is to create short term parking. If you get rid of them, then you may get people parking there all day. This is not good for retail.

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THANKS..

by the way, i think that the issue with putting the cruise terminal downtown is the size of the ships, they aren't getting smaller...  the carnival miracle had 6 ft. of clearance under the Dames Point Bridge>>  that pretty much counts out the Matthews and Hart???  but i agree, that would be a really nice place to board>>>

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The Old Ford Auto plant would be the perfect place for a terminal. It's is north of the Matthews bridge, so that would not be an issue. Unfortunately, because of the Dames Point bridge, it probably won't work long term. It seems to me with the Wonderwood connector coming in, that Mayport is the ideal location for a cruise terminal.

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I'm a Northeast Florida native, so I'm biased. But I've lived in a few different cities and visited many more, all across the country. Jacksonville has the potential to outshine them all. It's greatest asset is something that's already there - the St. John's River. The river helps to keep the city open and airy, friendly to pedestrians. It's a nice diversion from concrete and steel. In Atlanta, where I live, downtown is a canyon of skyscrapers. It's not a pedistrain-friendly place to be, because the towers literally block out the sunlight.

I'm psyched about the new developments, the new towers. But I hope the towers won't wall off the river to the public. That's something Jacksonville needs to keep in mind as downtown grows. After this initial phase of development, I think the future towers on the Northbank should go behind the ones in existence, where the older buildings are.

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I'm curious about Jacksonville's idenity. What does the city stand for? I know that it's a naval outpost, but what differentiates its from the rest of the cities in Florida? What is the attraction to coming to the city? Although Yoanna House from American's Next Top Model does call JAX home.

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I agree, the river is Jacksonvilles greatest asset and it is a shame to see our mayor against preserving the rest of the Old Fuller Warren Bridge. I also agreee that all future towers should be built behind existing structures so that the feel of downtown will remain open and airy. Also has anyone heard any news about a possible movie theater coming to Downtown Jacksonville in the near future? And one more thing, i know this is going way into the future but i would really like to see a theme park or some kind of definate tourist staple in Jax, any news?

p.s. I love this forum, you guys Lake, Crazy Cuban, etc. have some excellent ideas that i very much enjoy reading! Look for me here a lot from now on.

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I'm curious about Jacksonville's idenity. What does the city stand for? I know that it's a naval outpost, but what differentiates its from the rest of the cities in Florida? What is the attraction to coming to the city? Although Yoanna House from American's Next Top Model does call JAX home.

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Welcome to the forum Moonchild & Mrh3.

In my opinion, Jacksonville is still a city that doesn't know what it wants to be. It hasn't grabbed its past, like Charleston or Savannah, nor its culture like Cleveland & Memphis, or future like Charlotte. Until we decide what our city actually is and wants to be, it will never stand for anything.

Now several things differentiate the city from Florida's other large cities. Unlike the others, its a river oriented city, has several unique pedestrian oriented neighborhoods with sizable urban parks, Midwestern architecture, and the local economy, is industrial & business oriented instead of relying primarily on tourism.

There is no primary attraction in the city, like Disney or Busch Gardens. Personally I was attracted to the fact that a large portion of it (more so than Florida's other major cities) is pedestrian friendly and quite urban, despite the sprawl of the Southside. Being on the Atlantic Ocean was another plus.

Another thing that impressed me, was it seemed like a city on the move. The mayor, at the time, seemed to have a vision of making the city great and did whatever it took to achieve those dreams.

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The Old Ford Auto plant would be the perfect place for a terminal.  It's is north of the Matthews bridge, so that would not be an issue.  Unfortunately, because of the Dames Point bridge, it probably won't work long term.  It seems to me with the Wonderwood connector coming in, that Mayport is the ideal location for a cruise terminal.

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I definitely agree that the aesthetic value of a Cruise Terminal at the old Ford Motor Assembly Plant is incalcuable. However, the close proximity of the Matthews Bridge would make navigating a 700-foot long vessel into and out of the Plant quite tricky. The berth at the plant also does not allow multiple cruise ships to dock simultaneously. Lastly, with cruise ships' increasing air drafts, it's unlikely many ships will soon fit underneath the Dames Point Bridge.

As far as Mayport is concerned ... if 200 residents and businesses don't mind selling their land to the Jacksonville Port Authority, it could work. As you might surmise, the chances of that occurring are slim to none.

The most realistic options for a permanent Cruise Terminal would include either undeveloped Pine Island, or the Port Authority's Blount Island -- both locations east of the Dames Point Bridge.

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I'm psyched about the new developments, the new towers.  But I hope the towers won't wall off the river to the public.

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I know that the Peninsula and the Strand will have a public access point, like a plaza that will connect Riverplace Blvd. to the Riverwalk. I think that plaza will be lined with retail as well. As far as the Aetna towers go, I haven't seen a footprint of the building yet, but I'm hopeful that it will be accessible.-

I'm curious about Jacksonville's idenity. What does the city stand for? I know that it's a naval outpost, but what differentiates its from the rest of the cities in Florida?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Jacksonville is Where Florida Begins :D

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It's great to see everyone posting, however, the orignal intention of this post was to state that everyone can talk, let's see some people get involved and take the lead on some things. These forums are great because they feed a general need and desire to gripe, instead of griping, let's come up with some solutions and start taking charge of our city.

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I can't speak for everyone else, but I can assure you that there are people on this forum that are involved in finding solutions to the issues discussed here. I know for a fact that TheUrbanCore and I each spend most of our waking hours working diligently to make downtown a better place. I suspect that most of the folks who participate here are not using this merely a gripe session, but like myself, enjoy conversing with folks of a similar mindset. Selling downtown to those that think it should be burned down again sometimes seems impossible. I enjoy logging on here because it reminds me that there are others that share my point of view.

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And I'm awake more than downtowngal!

Also worth mentioning, I think, is that I (and many around me) invest everything we have down here. One reason is that we know the money we spend stays down here. Please know that one way an individual can really help is to support the businesses, new and old, that make up fabric of downtown JAX. Catch a show, buy a piece of jewelry of just have lunch on the river. Its a way we can all invest in the rebirth.

Peace to all this season and Merry New Year or something. :silly:

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I just wanted to add my two cents in on the cruise ship terminal. I really like the idea of moving the terminal to Blount Island. It is easily accessable for ships and there is space; however it may require a shifting around of the port. I f they move some ships to where the current temporary terminal is. This industry will be important in Jacksonville and we need to make sacrifices for it.

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Exactly Urban, I bought all my gifts this year downtown.JMOMA has a pretty cool little store.Some very unique items. BTW are you opening up for this weekend's festivities at all.(Burrito Gallery)

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Exactly Urban, I bought all my gifts this year downtown.JMOMA has a pretty cool little store.Some very unique items. BTW are you opening up  for this weekend's festivities at all.(Burrito Gallery)

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Kudos to 93sportie. I agree that we should all try to patronize downtown businesses as much as possible. That is the one thing everyone can do. I always try to buy all my meals downtown or in Springfield on my visits.

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Burrito gallery will not be open this weekend dern-it. I'll be at the game! By the way, the word is that there are 60,000 West Virginia fans on the way.

There is a dj battle of downtown icons at the london bridge on Jan 1 from 10p to 2a. Robots Vs. Dinosaurs.

TBG Probably will not open until Super Bowl week. Things are really in the home stretch but a public opening is still at least a month out.

I'll post any soft/unofficial openings here first so you get a sneak peak....

Don't forget there is some quality shopping on the art walk too! Next Wednesday is a biggie with 30 venues... and an after party at Draytons

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