Updating the Downtown plan: Public forums and a ‘mind mixer’
The effort to create an updated Community Redevelopment Area plan for the Downtown Northbank and Southbank is moving forward with a workshop at 3 p.m. today, with members of the Downtown Investment Authority and public forums on the agenda in November.
The first draft of the new plan will be delivered to the authority members at the workshop, said Anthony Robbins, senior planner with Prosser Hallock Inc., which has a contract with the city to develop the CRA.
The contract for Phase I of the Downtown CRA update cost $120,000. City Council approved in September a request from the authority for an additional $232,695 for Phase II, which is to include a Business Development and Investment Plan for 2014-25.
The city and Prosser Hallock have scheduled forums seeking the public's input on Downtown development at 5 p.m. Nov. 4 at City Hall and 5 p.m. Nov. 5 at the Wyndham Jacksonville Riverwalk Hotel.
Robbins said Tuesday that prior to the forums, a website and social media campaign will be launched to create what he called a "mind mixer."
He said public meetings on the CRA in the past two months have attracted a small group of Downtown advocates who are able to attend meetings at Downtown locations during business hours Monday-Friday.
Prosser Hallock wants to hear input from all of Duval County.
Robbins said after spending two months surveying Downtown stakeholders, it's time to "get out of the Downtown cocoon and cast the net wider. We want to hear from Mandarin. We want to hear from Bayard."
Offering people an opportunity to participate online and through social media will increase public input, he said.
Aundra Wallace, DIA CEO, agreed.
"If everyone in Jacksonville doesn't own Downtown, we won't be successful. We've got to engage everyone in 850 square miles of Duval County," he said.
In addition to the website, Robbins said Facebook and Twitter also will be utilized to solicit input. Email updates will be available through partners including Downtown Vision Inc.
"It's recognition of the social media world we live in. It's 24/7," said Robbins.