JCCI shares vision with San Marco Preservation Society

By Susanna P. Barton
Resident Community News

Jacksonville Community Council Inc. President and CEO John Werner presented plans for the JAX2025 initiative during a mid-October San Marco Preservation Society meeting. He called on local residents to support the community identity study and strategic action plan, launched in September.
“When we look at the history of Jacksonville, we know Jacksonville has been changing and it has been changing dramatically,” Werner told the preservation group. “San Marco is a wonderful example of things changing and things staying the same.”
He said Jacksonville is faced with an identify crisis.
“We don’t know who we are as a community,” Werner said.
JAX2025 hopes to change that. The community-driven initiative and visioning process, which organizers say is funded entirely by private donation, will be facilitated by St. Nicholas-based JCCI. JAX2025 organizers are in the process of collecting 10,000 survey responses on its site, www.jax2025.org. The group had amassed 4,000 surveys by mid-October, Werner said. Community discussion meetings will begin in January; ensuing community meetings will help develop action plans. A report is expected to be delivered by May 18, and a 13-year implementation phase begins May 19, Werner said.
The project website describes JAX2025 as being “about action and change. It’s about becoming the city we could be by creating a shared vision, finding solutions and making them real, and identifying leaders for our future.”
Mayor Alvin Brown is the JAX2025 honorary chairman. Granada resident and CBRE Group Senior Vice President Oliver Barakat joins former Florida Times-Union publisher Carl Cannon and Clara White Mission Inc CEO Ju’Coby Pittman-Peele as the initiative’s “Tri-Chairs.”
At the conclusion of his 20-minute presentation, Werner urged residents and members to participate in JAX2025 by taking the online survey and attending community meetings in January.
Doug Skiles, past president of the San Marco Preservation Society, later likened the JAX2025 visioning project to the San Marco by Design study, spearheaded by SMPS volunteer Valerie Feinberg nearly two years ago. He said many residents indicated they wanted a more walk-able community during the project’s multiple focus group studies. This vision already is playing out in several projects, including improving pedestrian walkways throughout the neighborhood and the traffic changes proposed for San Marco Square.

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