Photo: Orlando Sentinel
I don’t know, the leader of the free world? Roughly half of Jacksonville is excited to see our President roll up to our beautiful Downtown today, but this isn’t a political blog, its about Downtown. And Downtown is hot!
Despite road and Skyway closures it should be business as usual as we welcome President Obama. Will he stop in at one of our 90 plus restaurants Downtown and speak to one of their local owners as he likes to do on the road? If you think he might, put one guess in the comments. I’m going with International Cafe on Hogan Street.
Speaking of leaders, I had the pleasure of speaking to Leadership Jacksonville’s Collegiate Leadership group yesterday. I was fully prepared to talk about the resurgence of interest in Downtown and boy were they an interested audience! Each year for many years I have been talking to this group and each year, more and more I see these young acheivers considering staying or coming back to Jacksonville to launch their careers. I was struck by their excitement about our Downtown, and frankly, relative lack of knowledge about it. We’ve got to get our story out!
They gave reports at the end of the program and many were surprised that the crime rate Downtown was 64% lower than that of Duval County as a whole. They were also stoked that so many young entrepreneurs and tech savvy companies are opening up shop Downtown. Working and advocating for Downtown is a battle of perception. There are a lot of people who let outside-of-Downtown opinion or lazy media make up their mind about our city center. These kids have decided to experience it for themselves. It was the first time I’ve ever been in a room where the entire room was optimistic about Downtown! I can get used to that!
So the second time might be tomorrow. Tomorrow I am addressing the Downtown Council, JAX Chamber‘s oldest and most revered council. I am dropping all kinds of news and breakthroughs happening in our urban core. It is open to non-members, but membership is reasonable and highly encouraged, and I think you’ll see why tomorrow morning. Set your alarm clock, its an early one.
If anyone guesses a Presidential retail stop correctly in the comments, I’ll buy your breakfast at tomorrow’s Downtown Council meeting. Only one guess per person please!
See you on the street!
P.S.- If you’ve read this far you might want to read about a get together we are having next Thursday (scroll down for story) for Downtown Business owners. Please pass this on to your friends who own businesses in Beautiful Downtown Jacksonville.