Plan to boost businesses in Northwest Jacksonville now underway. Many say its overdue

The plan aims to revamp and revitalize a portion of Moncrief Road known as the “District of Soul”

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – There is a plan to revamp and boost business in Northwest Jacksonville. Many city leaders say it is long overdue.

The Jacksonville Commerical Corridor Enhancement Project launched in Northwest Jacksonville on Friday morning.

It is one that aims to revamp and revitalize a portion of Moncrief Road known as the “District of Soul.”

Paul Tutwiler is the CEO of the Northwest Jacksonville Community Development Corporation, which helps with economic development, housing and social services.

He said he wants local businesses to not only survive but thrive.

“We are looking for that facelift,” Tutwiler said. “We are looking for us to re-introduce ourselves to talk about how well this community can do to reach its potential.”

There are local businesses that can benefit from the project, including restaurants and museums.

“This breathes new life into the situation,” said Kevin Smith who owns a business in the district that provides services to entrepreneurs. “I believe it is the oxygen that is needed.”

Angela Tompkins owns 2 Crafty Sistahs. It’s a business she started more than two years ago. She creates custom items that promote the community and culture of the city.

“What it says to this community and other communities throughout the city is that there is life here,” Tompkins said. “There is a need for services here.”

Linda Harris owns Jerlyn Global, which provides housing and commercial business for senior citizens and veterans. She also supplies housing for traveling nurses.

“We want people from other areas of Florida, in the United States and all around the world to come to our district and see that it is a lot more going on besides crime,” Harris said.

These leaders say this new push drives in positive energy while ushering out the negative. Wells Fargo pledged $300,000 to the cause.

“Wells Fargo has been a long supporter of small businesses, and we certainly have been a great partner here with the organizations here since 2008,” Damien Haitsuka, who is the region bank director for North Florida. “Our commitment to helping small businesses thrive in this community, we believe it’s truly important. The pandemic has been a challenge for all, and more specifically, our black-owned businesses in our communities.”

The City of Jacksonville has already earmarked $750,000 for the project.

Tutwiler hopes this fosters expansion and hope into Northwest Jacksonville.

Local business owners can apply to get funding for those enhancements at this website.

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