Mayor Alvin Brown’s $11 million reinvestment fund to promote Downtown revitalization and citywide job growth is now official.
The plan calls for $9 million to leverage private dollars for Downtown improvement, and an additional $2 million is slated for citywide economic expansion. The investments result from a successful round of debt refinancing at the direction of the Brown Administration. The savings provide an opportunity for Jacksonville to invest in its future without taking on additional debt, using reserves or impacting the city’s solid AA+ bond rating. The refinancing provides $11 million for the 2012-13 fiscal year with additional savings in future years.
“The reinvestment strategy represents a tremendous chance for Jacksonville to become more vibrant and competitive at a time when cities all over America are competing for an edge,” said Mayor Brown. “The legislation I’m signing today empowers us – with careful planning, accountability and City Council oversight – to advance our city.”
A host of elected officials, business leaders and Downtown advocates were at City Hall Wednesday to support the mayor as he signed the reinvestment legislation (2013-89). After a review by City Council, the bill passed by a 17-1 vote on March 12.
Joining the mayor were City Council members Don Redman and Lori Boyer; Downtown Investment Authority (DIA) Chairman Donald Harris and Vice Chair Oliver Barakat; Tony Allegretti, a DIA board member and the Jacksonville Regional Chamber of Commerce’s director of downtown engagement; Preston Haskell, founder and chairman of The Haskell Co.; Dr. Chester Aikens, a Downtown-based practitioner who also served on the mayor’s Downtown transition committee; Terry Lorince, executive director of Downtown Vision Inc.; and Traci Jenks, president of NAIOP of Northeast Florida.
Mayor Brown has made revitalizing Downtown a strategic priority. His initiatives to improve the city’s economic development activities and create the Downtown Investment Authority won strong approval from Council, the Legislature and Gov. Rick Scott. A recent survey of residents by the JAX2025 initiative to create a community vision for Jacksonville’s future found that their top issue is improving Downtown Jacksonville.