Hello! Yes, BNC5 is back after an unfortunate delay. There’s been so much happening in Downtown Jacksonville in recent months! And tomorrow includes a big event, that I am absolutely delighted to share: The reopening of Friendship Fountain on the Southbank. If you’d like to attend, the program will begin at 9 am at Friendship Fountain on the Southbank of the St. Johns River.
It’s been nine months since the groundbreaking to start renovation. While driving home from a morning meeting yesterday (more on that in another post), I noticed the fountain was on. It had been tested in the evenings in recent weeks, but something else was different. As I walked up the sidewalk, I realized: The fencing was down!
Music was playing — oddly enough, Christmas music. I listened to a few songs, and — with a break from recent smoke-filled skies (and the extra heat that brings to the day) plus spray carried off the fountain by the breeze, and the lovely sounds of Ella Fitzgerald, Elvis Presley and Mariah Carey singing about Christmas — I would have sworn it was close to Halloween.
Without going into all the history of the Fountain (check out Bob’s wonderful blog at jaxfountain.com), it’s so exciting to see the Fountain return to its former glory. I recently had a conversation with Ron Barton of the Jacksonville Economic Development Commission about the Fountain project. He pointed out that this is a maintenance project, not a capital project — something Downtown sorely needs. Many of JEDC’s current projects are maintenance, with big costs because that work is so long overdue. I asked him if the restored Fountain could be considered an attraction or destination, and he said when it was constructed, it was such because not much else was on the Southbank of the river. The Fountain now is surrounded by business and commercial activity. I maintain that it will continue to be an attraction, in some sense. Each time I’ve visited in recent weeks, there have been others peeking through the construction fence, standing on benches, eagerly watching and waiting for completion of the project.
Here are some photos. There will be plenty taken tomorrow, as well. Architect Taylor Hardwick is supposed to attend and speak, and I hope to meet him.
Thank you to the readers who have tuned in, awaiting another post. There’s a lot to share and I hope to get to it quickly. Downtown Jacksonville seems to be gaining momentum.
See you in the morning! I recommend arriving early, for parking and getting a good seat.