Have we been sold a bill of goods by the city? Is the renaissance of downtown over before it even began? Apparently some downtown business owners think so.
This letter is representative of what a lot of downtown business owners and residents have been thinking lately.
"After attending the recent DVI meeting, attending my 1st Shadco
meeting this week and recently speaking to business owners and
respected public servants I have the following comments.
The City has a lot of mad business owners regarding the transient
issue. Some are boiling mad and fed up with the City and may be close
to going out of business. They blame the transients. It certainly has
hurt my business. I suspect employers feel the pinch as I have had
managers to decline to work for me after they walked to the Landing
and back. I know this problem can be fixed as I saw the fix when I
lived in Atlanta, Miami and Orlando. I hear the Star Bucks is
struggling and the fact that Firehouse has closed should be a wake up
call to the City. I realize it will not be fixed unless City Council
and the Mayor are behind it. I am perplexed though why they are not or
at least that is the appearance. The Mayor/City keeps waving the
banner of creating a vibrant downtown but lets this problem exist. It
is exasperated by Jacksonville's high crime rate which also does not
seem a priority to resolve. Either this is not a priority or we do not
have capable people. I suspect it a political issue and no one at City
Council or in the Mayor's office will disclose the real reason why
they promote downtown yet appear to turn their eye to the problem that
will not allow downtown to be successful.
Many owners, including myself, feel lured here by broken promises.
Once they are forced out of business it will make only matters worse.
I am not expecting a response. I am sure your are a fine person with
the City's best interest at heart and I recognize your serve at the
pleasure of the Mayor. I only want to go on record with your office."
- Concerned Downtown Business Owner
What is DVI's plan to handle this issue? Do they even have a plan? With the passing of Amendment 1 and the city already struggling with a budget crisis, what is the best way to overcome the issues downtown faces?