We had relatives come in to visit Jacksonville from Virginia and South Carolina.
We took them to Treaty Oak Park, but the grass was horribly overgrown and our relatives felt afraid because of the vagrants who were hanging around under the oak.
That was the end of showing them Downtown Jacksonville.
That was unfortunate, because we do have genuine attractions and things that should draw people here.
We have the zoo, the Beaches and Huguenot Park (our favorite).
We have an NFL team that plays in a highly upgraded EverBank Field.
And we now have Daily’s Place for outdoor Downtown concerts.
WE NEED MORE
But there is a great need for more things that can consistently draw people to stop in Downtown and spend time inside it.
Having a Downtown aquarium is a phenomenal idea — I would buy an annual pass and take my young relatives to it whenever they were in town.
And we need to do a better job of showcasing our St. Johns River and helping people discover how vast and beautiful it is.
Here’s another thought:
Yes, we do need more hotels. But we don’t need all of them to be located in the Downtown area.
Why hasn’t anyone thought of using the failing Regency Mall as a potential site for hotels?
It could be a perfect location for hotels because it is at the foot of the Arlington Expressway and Matthews Bridge — and it’s less than 10 miles from the Beaches and Interstate 295.
And if they’re accompanied by stores, restaurants and other features, the hotels could really help the overall area.
I just wish more people realized that Jacksonville is a nice place. We simply need more people to stop in our city — rather than drive by it.
Leslie Powell, Jacksonville