Going to the chapel and we’re gonna get married

So, it’s been a while. Almost two years. Is this any way to restart a blog? That’s so stream-of-consciousness and hipster-y …

wipes off the dust from the 1’s and 0’s, blows away the dirt accumulated on the WP password

Hi, my name is Beth and I love Downtown. shakes head, too self-indulgent

The Greenleaf & Crosby clock is back, yay! Big Jim is back, yay! One Spark was awesome, yay! The DIA was approved, yay! #oldnews

So, Beth, what’s occupying your brain? Job searching and wedding planning. Oh ….

Would you expect to learn something at a wedding reception? Whether they expect it or not, I will treat wedding guests to an evening of subtle learning and appreciation for Downtown Jacksonville. Really, did you expect any less?

Tables at the reception will be named for historic buildings. We’re talking the building boom of the early 20th century, pre-Bold New City and (mostly) post-Great Fire. Architect names, year opened, address. Even a brief story about what makes the building special. You might imagine some stories will be more difficult than others to keep brief — especially from any buildings by Henry John Klutho.

Why are we doing this? While our ceremony will take place Downtown at St. John’s Cathedral, we unfortunately could not find a reception venue in our price range Downtown. So we’re taking Downtown to the Garden Club.

What’s your favorite Downtown building from the period of 1902 to 1926?

Posted in Downtown as Sanctuary, Festive neighborhood, Jax History, So much to do! | 1 Comment

Am I stepping into the Twilight Zone?

For the last two days, I’ve worked Downtown, all day, in an office. And while there were plenty of reminders that I was in the middle of it all — skyline photographs and paintings, window views of the Main Street Bridge and Independent Life Building Wells Fargo Center — I kept forgetting where I was. Rather, it just didn’t feel like I was in Downtown Jacksonville. It was odd that I had to work to remember that I was in ZIP code 32202, not 32256.

The joy of the day was being outside. Even the walk to the parking lot was exciting — not because the workday was finished, but because there were the historic Dyal-Upchurch and Knight Crockery buildings! Oh, over there is the Bostwick Building with the Anne Banas and Jim Draper “Cat House” mural! This afternoon, I walked two blocks to my bank just to remember what Downtown Jacksonville is like on the street level.

Maybe it’s because I couldn’t hear Big Jim.

I’ll be Downtown again tomorrow and Friday. Maybe I’ll spend a few extra minutes outside, especially at noon and 1.

Do you work Downtown? What is your office like?

(In an effort to post more, I’m attempting to write less. Think closer to Twitter than well-documented research paper. We’ll see how it goes.)

Posted in Art, Festive neighborhood, Jax History, Take a look around | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Should old acquaintance be forgot

What’s new in Downtown Jacksonville? Well, there’s a new Mayor, and a majority of City Council representatives are new. I’ve had the good fortune to meet our new Mayor, Alvin Brown, a couple of times.

Mayor Brown ran on a platform of a new vision for the Bold New City of the South, and a major plank in that platform was Downtown Revitalization. He created a number of volunteer-led transition committees, and I had the honor of serving on the Downtown Revitalization Transition Committee. The committee heard from a number of resource speakers, from groups like Downtown Vision that market and promote Downtown; to the Jacksonville Economic Development Commission, with development authority; to developers and residents and the Library and even startups that want to base their operations Downtown. It was a fascinating study of all the moving parts, and great to learn that there are a lot of people who care deeply about the city’s most historic neighborhood.

The Daily Record did a nice job of wrapping up the work of the committee in its story.

Currently, the City Council Finance Department is in the budget process. There have been significant cuts by Finance to the mayor’s proposal. The new budget must be approved by the end of this month. It remains to be seen what the future of Downtown development (and economic development) will look like.

Jacksonville Jaguars football is back. It was a little uncertain for a while over the summer, with the NFL lockout. Although our preseason didn’t come with a lot of wins, our home opener is this Sunday against division rivals the Titans. It’s also the tenth anniversary of 9/11, so expect it to be a highly emotional game.

In case you, dear reader, are curious about this long absence from writing, I have been devoted to looking for a job. If you know someone who is looking for an experienced writer, I would love to get in touch and see if I may be the best candidate. Please contact me via LinkedIn or leave a comment. Thank you!

Posted in Career Development, Football, Make it better, Networking, Revitalizing Downtown | 1 Comment

Happy birthday, Donald Duck!

This is a quick post to wish the happiest of birthdays to my sweet baby brother, Josh. Today, Josh turns 30. Sometimes I still think of him as 10 — not for a lack of maturity, but because those were carefree days.

Josh also loves Downtown Jacksonville and photography, but he especially loves making movies. He’s made a couple of short films that have been set in Jacksonville, and one about zombies filmed in our hometown of Starke.

Recently Josh completed his philosophy degree at UNF and he has long wanted to enter seminary. He is compassionate and thoughtful and caring.

Somewhere there is an old photo of the two of us on Christmas morning. We received jointly a (toy) microphone and guitar, thus planting the seed of our shared love of karaoke.

For the Jaguars season this year, Josh and I attended nearly all the home games together. He ridiculed my Twitter habit but always told me what was happening at the north end of the field. (I couldn’t see that far and sometimes replays were slow to be shown.)

Then there was the trip to the Bahamas, in which we and our mother were part of a crew that traveled through the Berry Islands on a 64-foot sailboat. We snorkeled, swam, fished, and bathed in the ocean with a bottle of Joy dish detergent. When we visited the island of Bimini, we had a nice dinner at the marina restaurant. Then, we went to the Compleat Angler, a bar in a house that locals said was either owned or occupied by Ernest Hemingway. While playing the ring-toss game, we heard shouts of “OJ! OJ! OJ!” and went to the bar to watch the television screen. O.J. Simpson and a friend were driving down a highway in California, pursued by police, all at such a slow pace as to think we were in a slow motion daydream.

Happy birthday to the best little brother anyone could ask for!

(This title comes from a long-ago trip we took to Disney World around Josh’s birthday. There was a parade celebrating Donald Duck’s birthday, and Josh always loved that character.)

Josh and Beth

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