Arts and culture are good for neighborhood revitalization in Jacksonville

Arts and culture are good for neighborhood revitalization in Jacksonville

Arts and culture are good for neighborhood revitalization in Jacksonville

New developments are occurring throughout Jacksonville’s urban core. As a resident of the historic Eastside neighborhood, it has been inspiring to see so much enthusiasm around revitalization. There is one notable example that we should all be paying more attention to and that is the Phoenix Arts and Innovation District.

The moment the developer, Future of Cities, purchased the 8.3 acres located between Eastside and Springfield, its team in Jacksonville immediately connected with the residents of these historic communities. They identified and addressed the needs of residents and sought to better understand how to minimize displacement of those who have lived here for generations.

The Historic Eastside Community Development Corp. has partnered with them on real estate workshops to educate residents on how to navigate changes in the housing market and preserve ownership of their homes. The presence of a vibrant arts and cultural district can increase property values ​​in the neighborhood, which can benefit homeowners and attract new residents.

Our shared goal is to achieve this with minimal displacement and increased opportunities for current residents. We have also worked together on food distributions to residents, Christmas markets, and other community events. Eastside residents also have access to Phoenix District facilities to host their own meetings, workshops and activities. It’s been inspiring to see a developer be so inclusive.

As an artist, entrepreneur, and advocate for equitable community development, I am excited and honored to work alongside Future of Cities to foster creativity and economic vitality in our area. Cultural events can improve the overall quality of life in Springfield, the Eastside, and the city by providing opportunities for residents to participate in creative and enriching activities.

This can lead to better mental health and well-being for residents. It can also help bring citizens together and create a sense of community. Other positive outcomes include increased social connections and a greater sense of belonging among residents.

Letters: Retired Jacksonville doctor says abortion laws not based on religion, but science

But it’s not just about the locals. The Phoenix District will attract tourists and visitors to the neighborhood, generating additional revenue for local businesses and creating job opportunities. This can help stimulate economic growth and revitalize the area. Small businesses in these neighborhoods need the support of both locals and tourists to thrive.

The Phoenix Arts and Innovation District will help promote cultural exchange and diversity in the neighborhood and throughout the city of Jacksonville by fostering a greater sense of understanding and appreciation among residents of different backgrounds. The creative community is excited and has been anticipating this type of development for decades.

It’s wonderful to see it finally come to life for all people from all walks of life to enjoy.



Suzanne Pickett, executive director of Historic Eastside Community Development Corp., Jacksonville

This guest column is the opinion of the author and does not necessarily represent the views of the Times-Union. We welcome a diversity of opinions.

This article originally appeared in the Florida Times-Union: Entire Eastside Benefits from Phoenix District’s Inclusive Approach