October 25, 2014

community portrait

Jacksonville

More than just gathering data, we're capturing elements that make each community distinctive.

Economic Life, continued

Short List of Big Employers

Naval Air Station: 19,500

Naval Station Mayport: 15,293

Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Florida: 9,000

Publix Distribution Center: 6,615

Shands Jacksonville
Jacksonville is home to four major health systems, including Shands Jacksonville. [Photo: Kelly Laduke]
Winn-Dixie Stores: 6,200

Baptist Health System: 5,600

Mayo Clinic: 5,000

CSX: 4,400

Citibank (Citi-Cards): 4,200

Bank of America: 4,000

St. Vincent’s Medical Center: 3,796

Naval Air Depot: 3,766

Wachovia: 3,700

Shands Jacksonville Healthcare: 3,500

Strengths

River City:
Flowing through the heart of downtown, the St. Johns River is one of the city’s major strengths, although access is still poor in many formerly industrial areas. City officials are working to change that, investing in parks and public spaces such as the Riverside Arts Market — a vacant space under the Fuller Warren Bridge that turns into a market each Saturday. The recent bankruptcy of LandMar Group is a blow to downtown redevelopment; the city has declared LandMar in default of its redevelopment agreement on the ambitious Shipyards project.

The Ritz Theatre
The Ritz Theatre and LaVilla Museum showcases African-American culture.

Diversity:
Nearly a third of Jacksonville’s residents are African-American. The city has an active African-American chamber; a historically black university, Edward Waters College; a black cultural museum, the Ritz Theatre and LaVilla; and important historical sites such as Kingsley Plantation.

Higher Education:
The University of North Florida’s reputation is growing along with its campus on the southeast side of the city, but it still has a small student-to-faculty ratio of 22:1. Florida Community College at Jacksonville is known for its information technology track. Private Jacksonville University was named one of “America’s Best Colleges” for the fourth consecutive year in U.S. News & World Report’s annual rankings. Other schools of higher education include the Florida Coastal School of Law; Edward Waters; the Art Institute of Jacksonville; and technical/vocational schools, including ITT Technical Institute.

Weaknesses

Finances:
The city faces a pension crisis with unfunded liabilities in excess of a billion dollars that is likely to compete for funds with long-needed community improvement projects, including downtown redevelopment.

Crime:
Duval has led Florida’s large counties in murder rate for 10 years, though the rate dropped in the first five months of 2009, thanks in part to intense community focus on the crime problem. With more than 6,400 crimes per 100,000 population, however, the county still ranked first in the state in crime rate, according to 2007 Florida Department of Law Enforcement Statistics.

Homelessness:
Nearly 20,000 homeless live on Jacksonville’s streets and in shelters — about a quarter of them veterans.

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