JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Looking for something to do in downtown Jacksonville? Things could get a lot more interesting if the mayor and city leaders have their way.
Monday night, on the "Mark Brunell Show," Mayor Lenny Curry told News4Jax's Cole Pepper about possibly building a sports and entertainment complex.
"(The) riverfront. That's where the Shipyards are. But also begin to think about an entire entertainment district moving a little bit north, between the football and baseball fields," Curry said. "Just kind of a little teaser there. Big things could be coming."
It was the first time that the mayor spoke of a specific plan. Details are scarce, but News4Jax on Tuesday looked into what could be on the horizon.
Everyone has an opinion.
Downtown Jacksonville is:
"A work in progress," resident Jack Shad said.
"Boring," resident Victoria Pittman said.
"Entertainment," resident Keith Wheeler said.
"A safer environment for people during the nighttime," business traveler Scott Craig said.
"They need more little boutiques to bring in the millennial-type crowd," business traveler Countess Murphy said.
Now city leaders are planning to fill the void that has some people wanting more.
There's Everbank Field, Daily's Place, the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville and the arena. But in between the sports complex and the hotels and restaurants of downtown Jacksonville, there’s a big gap, which has many tourists not necessarily happy with the layout of the city.
Jaguars owner Shad Khan has big plans for a development called the Shipyards along the St. Johns River. But while on CW17 Monday evening, Curry discussed more in the works, saying, "Big things could be coming."
He hinted about a central sports and entertainment district with restaurants, bars, shops and more.
"We need that fan district. We need a plug-and-play kind of place that people can go to," JaxSports Council CEO Alan Verlander said. "That’s the missing link here."
Verlander said the city hosts about 200 major events a year, including sports games, concerts and festivals. But after they’re over, there’s not enough to do.
"You look at Nashville, look at Atlanta, you look at Dallas. Those places, they have destination points for their fans," Verlander said. "We don’t have that here."
It could attract the likes of a college football championship, or even another Super Bowl. That makes the visitor's bureau very happy.
"If they walk out the door and they see there’s things to do, they’re going to extend their stays for weekends around their conferences, and they’re going to have a great representation of Jacksonville," said Visit Jacksonville Vice President Katie Mitura. "And when they leave, they are going to talk about the great time they had."
It’s still in the very early stages, but word on the street is there’s a big meeting about it next month.
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