Downtown Development is Economic Development | Politics

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Downtown Development is Economic Development

Audrey Moran, Republican candidate for mayor, announced today that she welcomes the document released today by the Jacksonville Civic Council, Northbank Redevelopment Task Force Final Report.  The report was made public during a press conference that included Civic Council Chair Peter Rummell and Civic Council member and Task Force Chair Preston Haskell. 

As a former member and chair of the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) and former board member of Downtown Vision, Inc., Moran understands firsthand the importance of downtown development.  “Currently, our downtown is underutilized and on the decline.  The value of a vibrant downtown lies in its potential to contribute at a high rate to the community’s overall tax base,” Moran said.  “In a vibrant downtown, each developed and thriving block provides value to every neighborhood in Jacksonville – from east to west and north to south.  There are countless examples of cities across America where downtowns have turned the corner and shown consistent patterns as significant net revenue contributors for their city as a whole. We must make this a priority. The first piece of legislation I will introduce as mayor is to recreate the DDA.  Downtown development is economic development.”  Moran stated she will work closely with the Jacksonville Regional Chamber of Commerce and joins them in making downtown redevelopment a priority. Moran recently received the prestigious JAXBIZ endorsement from the Chamber’s political affiliate.

She continued to say, “The most important strategy will be to initiate a downtown redevelopment plan that is long term. No longer can downtown initiatives be treated as the ‘plan du jour’ from mayor to mayor. I recognize the current economy and budgeting issues the city faces as a whole. As we take a close comprehensive review of the budget, areas of identified waste will be cut for possible investment into downtown. While much of the tax increment district money is encumbered for the next 3-4 years, we must identify resources dedicated to downtown. I believe an objective look at the city’s budget and investment capacity will show opportunities to fund our downtown initiatives while living within our means. In addition, developing public-private partnerships will be a key to our success.  The Civic Council is to be commended for their work and their focus on the future of our downtown.”

Prior to the report being issued, Moran stated, “My agenda of specifics to help our downtown turn the corner are as follows: Downtown will be clean, functional and safe. These are among the most frequent observations and recommendations for improvement from downtown businesses, property owners and residents. Cleaning sidewalks, mulching tree plantings and garden areas, maintaining street light fixtures, trimming and mowing overgrown areas and enforcing code violations will be among the first steps. There will also be a dedicated and recognizable downtown police beat 24/7 to help ensure a safer environment.  Bringing the next generation of fiber optic network technology to downtown using public-private partnerships will also lead the priority list. Fiber optics should be accessible to downtown where its potential can be fully promoted and realized. High-speed, robust Internet service is essential for business development and growth, as well as giving Jacksonville a competitive edge.”

For more information on Audrey’s vision for Jacksonville and upcoming events, please visit the campaign web site at


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