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New purpose, new opportunities through downtown Jacksonville warehouse

A warehouse in downtown Jacksonville will transform into a new street market this weekend. The organizer says he wanted to give the building a new purpose, while giving new opportunities to the people who work there.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A warehouse in downtown Jacksonville will transform into a new street market this weekend.

The organizer says he wanted to give the building a different purpose while giving new opportunities to the people who work there.

The theme of this weekend’s new market is community building.

The building’s owner was so inspired by local graffiti artists five years ago, it’s now covered in hundreds of pieces of art inside and out.

While not as obvious as the building’s transformation, many of the people who work there are undergoing similar transformations.

And this weekend’s street market is an opportunity for them to continue their journeys.

“I think this is the most unique building in Jacksonville because of all the art. So, it’s fun. Families love it. Kids love it. I mean everyone even you know elderly love it. They come in go oh I remember that,” said promoter JT Rhoades.

If you’ve driven through downtown Jacksonville, you’ve likely seen this building with all the cartoon graffiti on its walls.

It’s called Toon Town.

“So, there’s one artist, Kyle, who’s done the whole outside of the building. And then there’s probably 30 to 40 different artists that have done the inside of the building. And so, it’s a pretty cool collaboration if you look around. It’s a lot of neat art, it’s very nostalgic,” said Rhoades.

But its purpose is much bigger than art.

The empty warehouse now transformed into a multi-purpose building has one goal in mind, bringing communities together.

Toon Town is also giving members of the community a second chance.

“Majority of the people that work here have gone through the AA program and are in a recovery sort of environment. So, it’s really nice to be surrounded by people that have had similar backgrounds. I myself went through a hard time in 2020 and came out of something very difficult to get through. But with the help of my higher power and this place and JT and the owners, it’s a really good environment for people to come in and try to get back on their feet. And work hard and to be humbled,” said Stuart Wilson, Toon Town operations manager.

This weekend’s event will feature more than 40 vendors, community businesses, and food trucks.

It will be pet and family-friendly.

“I think that it’s revitalizing. So, if you look around us buildings are starting get facelifts. More and more people are coming down for the games. We’re two blocks east of the Jaguars’ stadium. And so, I think this is the next area that really needs an injection of some local blood,” said Rhoades.

The street market will run from 11 a.m to 4 p.m. Saturday at Toon Town located on 444 Talleyrand Ave, Jacksonville, FL 32202.

Parking will be available around the building.


About the Author:

Anchors the 4:30 a.m. newscast, provides traffic updates throughout the rest of The Morning Show, then reports on events in the community.