by JEN JONES
This month has been marked by many triumphant moments. At the top of my mind is the development of Bikeshare, alongside JTA. The Unity Plaza team is assisting as a private sector aid to make Bikeshare happen for Jacksonville. We will be interviewing national Bikesharing entities to identify best-practices and create informed plans for the design, deployment and management of this new endeavor, as well as fundraising for architecture.
Choosing and developing our share locations is a critical task. Unity Plaza will commit land on Riverside Avenue to become one of several key Bikeshare hubs. Station locations are inspired two-fold. Firstly by inner-city transportation, including utilization of the skyway express and original streetcar lines in Jacksonville, a grid upon which our urban core’s retail is still situated. And secondarily, Bikeshare will serve to connect the public to the top entertainment and cultural destinations in our city, many of which, such as MOCA, have placed Jacksonville in the Top 25 American Arts Destination Cities, as rated by American Style Magazine, every year since 2008.
The team looks enthusiastically into the future when the 220,000-person-strong, five-mile radius of neighbors, business persons, park visitors and urban core celebrants living and working in the Bikeshare path have embraced this alternative mode of healthful transport, and when all of the important, city-center, cultural locales are connected.
We at Jacksonville’s “Central Park” have been busy doing more than developing our role in Jacksonville’s future Bikeshare, though. January kicked off in high gear on the heels of a completed 120-page business plan for Unity Plaza, including full details in all sectors. Most interesting to the public: our planned site assets, 365 days of event programming, future Program Director and board member positions and larger scale development plans.
On the front of execution and development of Unity Plaza itself, the Executive Director has been hard at work writing budgets and connecting sponsor partners to underwriting Unity Plaza’s main events, developing the Metro Jacksonville Broadcasting Station (yes, we did say it, more to come!) and the planning of additional soft opening events. Be on the lookout for fanfare to be seen onsite beginning Feb 15 at the groundbreaking of Unity Plaza, and continuing, often in dynamic and expressive pop-up-event style, in and around the park, until our massive, month-long Grand Opening in October.
To energize and fully engage the Jacksonville audience, we are slipping these details into the public eye each day through our social media outlets, including email, Facebook, Twitter and our blog. For subscription to these exciting announcements, you may email Unity Plaza at [email protected] and be added to our monthly distribution list, or simply “Like” the Unity Plaza Jax Facebook page to see the daily update. For those desiring an instant message, subscribe to our Twitter feed #UnityPlazaJax or our info-packed blog www.unityplaza.com and select “Follow” on the bottom right of the page.
Join in the events, and take part in writing Jacksonville’s next chapter! Most importantly, keep your friends and professional associates in the know, and spread the love.
by JEN JONES