One Spark gears up for record crowds
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – On the eve of the One Spark festival's second year, city leaders and event organizers are anticipating more than 150,000 people will attend one or more of the downtown venues over the next five days.
Tuesday morning, Mayor Alvin Brown held a meeting with City Council members, police and One Spark directors discuss final preparations.
Brown says the economic impact on downtown Jacksonville will be in the millions of dollars. Last April, bed-tax revenues were up 17 percent and local hotels booked 1,380 more rooms than the previous year. That revenue from overnight visitors was estimated at $3 million.
Joe Sampson, executive director of the event, said the festival will spread over 20 square blocks -- a smaller footprint than last year, but will more creators.
More than 600 groups have signed up to showcase their ideas.
One Spark is a crowd-funding festival were people and small businesses and organizations showcase their ideas and products and ask for votes from the public. Those who get the most votes will get the most money to fund their projects.
"One spark is quickly as evolving into a significant event for the city and the region," said Bill Gulliford, City Council president. "Not only is it bringing people from all over Jacksonville, but also the Southeast, the nation and beyond. It makes Jacksonville a focal point for creativity, innovation and start ups."
With a such a large crowd expected downtown, officials say traffic and parking will be an issue. They urge people to park at EverBank field and take a free shuttle, or use the Prime Osbourne Center and ride the Skyway, which is also free and will offer extended hours: 6 a.m. to 2 a.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 6 a.m. to 3 a.m. Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 a.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday.
The city is also opening up six different parking garages near the festival where people can find a spot for a flat rate of $10 a day:
- Library Garage: 33 W. Duval St.
- Water Street Garage: 541 Water St.
- Yates Garage: 200 E. Adams St.
- Forsyth and Main Lot: corner of Forsyth and Main
- Ed Ball Garage: 214 N. Hogan St.
- Bay and Ocean Lot: 112 E. Bay St. (limited)
For maps and other details about parking visit OneSparkParking.com.
Several roads will be closed for part of the duration or the entire duration of One Spark:
- Laura Street will be closed from the roundabout to Duval Street starting Tuesday at 7 p.m. and will stay closed through Sunday at 9 p.m.
- Duval Street from Hogan Street to Laura Street, Monroe Street from Hogan Street to Main Street and Adams Street from Hogan Street to Main Street will also be closed for the duration.
- Ocean Street from Adams Street to Bay Street, Bay Street from Newnan Street to Ocean Street and Forsyth Street from both Newnan Street to Ocean Street and Main Street to Hogan Street will be closed as needed between 6 p.m. and 2 a.m. Wednesday through Sunday.
"We have a very good plan in place," said Jacksonville Sheriff's Office Assistant Chief Leonard Propper. "This thing lasts multiple hours throughout the day and in the evening time. There will be plenty of police down there to provide a safe environment, great community support, and we're looking forward to it."
One Spark officially kicks off at 11 a.m. Wednesday and runs through 7 p.m. Sunday. Channel 4 will broadcast live from One Spark each day and air a prime-time special Wednesday at 8 p.m.
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