by Max Marbut
Helping people understand that coming Downtown to live, work and play is “the thing to do” has been Downtown Vision, Inc.’s mission since it was formed more than five years ago, and executive director Terry Lorince says 2006 was a year of success built on pre-existing programs and policies.
“The ambassadors program continues to be the foundation of DVI’s effort to make Downtown cleaner, safer and more attractive to visitors,” said Lorince, who pointed out that ambassadors picked up more than six tons of litter and removed more than 100 graffiti tags last year. “Except for a small area around Hemming Plaza, the ambassadors are the only people who pick up trash Downtown on a regular basis.”
Lorince said the monthly Art Walk was another DVI project that continued to grow last year, averaging 30 venues and 1,500 visitors per event. She also said Art Walk has led to the formation of a permanent full-time artists’ cooperative – The Art Center at the Carling – and the addition of a temporary artists’ space at the Bryan Building on Hogan Street.
“The month-long ‘Jazz in June’ series we debuted last year was also a big success,” said Lorince. “The four nights of live music on the riverfront brought 4,000 people Downtown to experience something they couldn’t find anywhere else.”
For this year, Lorince said, what is working will get even better and there will be some changes at DVI.
“We’re rethinking our entire marketing strategy and structure,” she said. “We will continue to improve the Downtown experience and with that infrastructure in place, we are going to bring more people Downtown and make them want to come back.”
Lorince said corporate sponsorships, fundraising efforts and the Jacksonville Economic Development Commission’s task force recommendations will all be priorities this year.
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