Buzz: Downtown Parking, EverBank Scoreboards and More
Downtown Has More Parking Than Disney
Do you think there’s not enough parking in Downtown Jacksonville? “We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, 'Downtown Jacksonville does not have a parking problem – we have a parking perception problem,” said Downtown Vision Inc. Marketing Director Katherine Hardwick in a statement. “We actually have more parking spaces in Downtown Jacksonville than four of the five Walt Disney World parks combined.” Downtown has more than 43,000 public parking spaces (49 garages and lots and more than 1,600 metered spaces), while Walt Disney World has 32,539 spaces, she said. And the meters are free every weekday after 6 p.m., plus weekends and holidays. You won’t get that deal at Disney. “People have become so accustomed to living in the suburbs where shops and stores have parking lots. Urban areas are different, and walking is part of the experience,” Hardwick said. A parking map is featured on downtownjacksonville.org during October to familiarize visitors with myriad parking options available.
Bed Taxes for Scoreboards
Will the world’s largest scoreboards at EverBank Field help convince the Jacksonville Jaguars to score few more points next season? Mayor Alvin Brown is going full speed ahead to make the improvements, which include the world’s largest video boards in the end zones, seven LED board displays around the stadium and a fan zone with swimming pools in the stadium's north end. The Jacksonville City Council must approve the financing arrangement to use part of the city’s bed tax to pay its $43 million share of the renovations. If approved, the upgrades will be finished next summer, before the start of the 2014 NFL season.
Shad Khan Boosts Rick Scott’s Fund
Apparently, Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan and Gov. Rick Scott hit it off when they met in Tallahassee Sept. 8. Khan donated $250,000 to the governor’s re-election campaign; the contribution was posted on the governor’s Tallahassee-based “Let’s Get to Work” committee on Sept. 30, bringing his third quarter total to $1.34 million. So far, the governor has $3.65 million in his re-election coffers. Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, upset because the Legislature didn't approve upgrades to Sun Life Stadium, has started his own political action committee, Florida Jobs First, which is helping Scott raise money.
Who Will Replace Daniel Davis?
His seat in Tallahassee isn’t cold yet, but contenders are already lining up to throw their hat in the ring to replace Rep. Daniel Davis. The Jacksonville Republican, recently named Jax Chamber CEO, has said he will not seek re-election. Republican Jay Fant, a third-generation banker, has said he'll run for the seat. Fant's already drawn support from former Jacksonville Mayor John Peyton, and attorney Paul Renner has the support of State Sen. John Thrasher for the Republican nomination. Davis’ term expires in 2014.
Hope He’s Good in an Emergency
Mayor Alvin Brown has appointed a retired Federal Emergency Management Agency deputy administrator to lead Duval County’s Emergency Management Division. Steven Woodard, who will earn a $120,000 annual salary, started in an acting capacity on Oct. 7; he must be confirmed by the City Council. Woodward served in the U.S. Secret Service as assistant special agent in charge of protective operations, major events division. He was involved in emergency management for Super Bowl XXXVI, the 56th session of the United Nations and the first inauguration of President George W. Bush.
Chipper, But Not So Happy
The Braves appeared to take offense with former teammate Chipper Jones after the Bolles School graduate predicted the Dodgers would eliminate Atlanta in four games in the National League Division Series on the team’s flagship radio station AM 680 (WCNN) Oct. 3. Later that day, Jones took the mound to throw out the ceremonial first pitch for Game 1. No player volunteered to catch his toss, so mascot Homer the Brave did the honors. Jones expressed his “thanks” on Twitter (@RealCJ10): “Wanna thank the Braves organization for having me throw out the first pitch to the mascot tonite. Quite sure that’s never been done before!” If that wasn’t clear enough, he followed up with another: “Nor will it EVER happen again!” The Braves lost 6-1 in Game 1 and promptly lost the series in four games, proving Jones as good on prognostication as he was at the plate. — David Johnson