We’re living in an era with unlimited potential.
As the calendar turns to September and we transition into the fall season, the optimism in the air regarding the Jacksonville Jaguars’ upcoming season is tangible.
After an exhilarating run through the playoffs that found the team at their deepest place in the postseason since 1999, the season ahead undoubtedly holds the greatest amount of optimism in recent memory.
It is only fitting that this team, wanting to gain respect and nationwide notoriety, hails from Jacksonville and finds itself in a similar position as the city it calls home.
Jacksonville, much like the NFL team that represents it, finds itself in an era with an unlimited amount of potential. It is hard to recall an era filled with this much optimism within Duval County.
Between the proposed development of the Shipyards property, which will revitalize an area of the riverbank that has been vastly underutilized for decades, to the new concept of “The District,” which will be built on the Southbank, Jacksonville certainly has the potential to awaken the proverbial “sleeping giant.”
Progress can be seen even at the legal level where many of us have it before our very eyes each day in the new Duval County Courthouse.
For those of us who started our legal careers in the old courthouse, the difference could not be more drastic. Couple that with the fact that plans are underway to demolish the old courthouse and State Attorney’s Office in order to bring greater utilization to the riverbank area on Bay Street and real progress is evident.
Downtown is not the only area that has heard the calling to unleash its full potential. If one had driven through the Brooklyn and Riverside neighborhoods only 10 years ago, the difference between then and today would be noticeable.
In the case of Brooklyn, it has advanced from being a non-entity in terms of desirable places to go to one that each day brings in a lot of consumer traffic by the way of new restaurants and of course the beloved Fresh Market.
Riverside continues to be at the forefront of Jacksonville development and cutting-edge concepts. Whether it’s the addition of trendy restaurants that utilize rooftop areas, such as River & Post, Black Sheep or Hoptinger, to the new concept of Kanine Social where patrons can bring their dogs with them to the taphouse, constant growth and change has been on display.
While progress and potential are good things, they are not worth much if they are not sustained and maximized. Where does that leave us, you might ask?
Just as it is up to the players on the Jaguars’ opening day roster to do what they need to do to be successful this season, it is up to us as the citizens of Jacksonville to not be complacent in hoping development will happen but to become engaged and involved with the community.
Something as simple as choosing one of the new local establishments for your next work or family outing can go a long way in showing that this growth is not only sustainable, but the right thing to do.
It is vital that we as a community become involved in any way we can, whether through the Jacksonville Bar Association or the JAX Chamber, to show our leaders that we care and we are proud to call the First Coast our home.
The parallel of Jacksonville and the Jaguars is one of unlimited potential. Both the city and the team appear to be hitting their strides at just the right time. The story has not yet been written, but I am optimistic and hopeful that it will be a great one with a fantastic ending.