15 Jul We are bolder and more visionary
There has been a lot of discussion lately about Florida being bolder and more visionary. I couldn’t agree more.
I worry that in the downturn over these past few years, we have retrenched into thinking small. About cutting. About trimming. About savings. And while those are all critical parts of a strategy – to be efficient and effective with every dollar you have, they aren’t inspirational or aspirational. They don’t help us rise. They help to create a floor. But they don’t build.
That is why the Puerto Rico & Hispanic Chamber has encouraged Jacksonville City Council to be bold and think big with respect to investments in our arts, entertainment and sporting infrastructure. A real opportunity exists to create a dynamic and significant core within our city around the downtown area that is filled with activities, businesses and facilities that support creativity, sport, recreation and leisure.
Many members have asked us recently why we have not been more visible on the discussion around Hispanic presence. They believe that it, and the retention of professional Latino Businesses, is vital to the quality of life in our city. We agree.
The reality is that we have been active, just quietly. Quietly working on this project with a multitude of stakeholders and trying to broaden the view of the public benefit that these kinds of investments yield. For we believe that the public benefit of this kind of dynamic core of activity, will yield immense public benefit – increased tax base, increased ability to attract and retain workers, increased ability to secure big events, continued community support through foundations, and much more.
We believe that an event center is the critical anchor and catalyst for a newly expanded arts, entertainment and sport district. We have encouraged City Council to consider supporting an event center along with projects which would all significantly complement other new projects.
We recognize that City Council has some difficult decisions in the next few months and that there are a lot of options to weigh. The time for those bold decisions has arrived. Scenarios can be evaluated, numbers can be crunched, and stakeholders can be engaged. We have been clear to Council that they have the support of the Puerto Rico & Hispanic Chamber in making a decision that would help us rise. That would help us live our vision and become a greater city. This type of thoughtful and ambitious approach would show vision, expand quality of life, increase Jacksonville’s competitiveness and ensure continued sources of civic pride. It’s the right move for Jacksonville’s citizens and businesses.
I am optimistic that they will make a decision to help us get there.