Countdown #25 to Unity Plaza Opening – a Remarkable Groundbreaking!

March 30, 2014: Mayor Alvin Brown speaks regarding Unity Plaza as a Catalyst for Change & Innovation in Jacksonville

March 30, 2014: Mayor Alvin Brown speaks regarding Unity Plaza as a Catalyst for Change & Innovation in Jacksonville

Reflections by Mayor Alvin Brown ~
“Thank you, Alex, for your kind introduction, your vision and inspiration.
It’s great to see everyone and join you for this celebration.
Thanks also to collaborators:
Dave Auchter, NAI Hallmark Partners
Ben Warner, JCCI
Diane Brunet Garcia, Aschelle Morgan, Daniel Austin & Lisa Goodrich
Dave Pierson, Jacksonville Symphony
Hope McMath, Cummer Museum
and Jen Jones, Unity Plaza
This is an exciting day not only for the Brooklyn neighborhood and our greater Downtown area – but for all of Jacksonville.
What’s happening here is truly a team effort.
It shows what we can achieve when the public and private sectors work together.
This place – and this event – symbolizes the energy and momentum that we’ve been gaining in our efforts to revitalize the greater Downtown area.
From Day One, this has been one of my top priorities.  And it’s a top priority for our city.
People throughout Jacksonville – and beyond – want to see our city with a vibrant downtown area.
We want this area to be a great place to live and work … a great place to start or expand a business … a great place to shop and dine … and, especially right here, a great place to have fun!
We’re bringing new life to the heart of the city. 
Every new home or apartment … every new office or store … every new public space or event – adds to the pulse of our Downtown area. 
I’m excited about today’s celebration because Unity Plaza is a centerpiece of our public-private partnerships to develop the Brooklyn neighborhood and revitalize the greater Downtown area.
With 220 Riverside and Unity Plaza, NAI Hallmark Partners had made a big investment.
The City has also made its own major investment here.
Together, we’ve created a new nonprofit organization that’s going to develop programming and really make this space come alive!
In addition to the City’s investment, Unity Plaza has a dedicated funding source from lease revenue. 
And it’s headed by Jenny Jones. 
Like Alex, she’s both a visionary and someone with the energy to make things happen. 
And, as today’s celebration shows, great things are already happening – with much more to come.
Unity Plaza adds something truly unique and special to Jacksonville.
Everyone knows I’m a strong advocate for more park space and more park use. 
But Unity Plaza is much more than a park. 
It’s much more than an open space.
It’s really an extravaganza.
It’s going to have everything:  music and entertainment … community festivals and celebrations … activities for health, wellness and education.
There will be events for young professionals … for families … for out-of-town visitors and tourists.
The creative possibilities are almost limitless.
This is a space that’s going to be high tech … high touch … state of the art.
Compared to many other parks, Unity Plaza may be physically small.  But it promises to have a super-sized impact.
Unity Plaza is one more sign of the wonderful things to come for this neighborhood and for our city.
I thank everyone here for your vision and hard work – for your “inspiration and perspiration” – to help make Jacksonville an even better, greater city for all of us.

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