December 18, 2014

community portrait

Jacksonville

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

Why I Live Here

Abel and Austin Harding
Abel Harding and son Austin

It’s the rolling waves of the Atlantic Ocean from the end of the Jacksonville Beach Pier. It’s the childhood memories of an excursion down the Trout River at the helm of my uncle’s tugboat. It’s the charm of the riverwalk that snakes along the St. Johns River, the buzz of the Riverside Arts Market on a Saturday morning.

It’s the eclectic atmosphere of Five Points on First Friday, a lazy afternoon lost in the maze that is Chamblin’s Bookmine, the peaceful calm of Evergreen Cemetery, where five former governors rest. It’s the eerie morning fog that envelops Fort Caroline, the site of North America’s oldest European settlement.

It’s the sound of an all-star jazz band emanating from the halls of Snyder Memorial Church during the Jacksonville Jazz Festival. It’s our pulsing downtown on a late fall afternoon when the entire city is focused on the storied Florida/Georgia game.

It’s the recognition of our history and the knowledge that we still have the ability to mold and shape our own identity as we charge into the future. For all of these reasons and many more, I am proud to call Jacksonville my hometown.

Abel Harding
Vice president for commercial lending, IronStone Bank

Why I Live Here

 Paul Tyler
Paul Tyler (left) hauls in a sailfish.
I grew up in Jacksonville after moving to the area at age 4 after my father was transferred here to NAS Jacksonville (Naval Air Station). I have spent the majority of my life here (nearly 40 years), with the only exception being the time that I spent attending the University of Florida.

I love the Jacksonville area and have remained here by choice for a number of reasons. It is a great place to raise a family with abundant access to quality public education, youth sports and numerous outdoor activities. My family and I are all avid golf, fishing and boating enthusiasts, and the Jacksonville metropolitan area offers some of the nation’s best access to each. The golf courses in the area are world class, including the TPC at Sawgrass, my home course. The Jacksonville, St. Augustine and Fernandina Beach areas offer fishing opportunities both inshore and offshore, saltwater and fresh, many of which are unique to the Jacksonville area. Access to the waterways is much better in northeast Florida than in most other parts of the state due to a relatively less dense population concentration. This also contributes to much better traffic congestion problems when compared with other major metropolitan areas in the state.

The cost of living in Jacksonville is much more attractive than other areas of the state, with relatively low property tax rates and housing costs.

What has kept me in Jacksonville for most of my life is the overall quality of life. From the Jacksonville Jaguars to the TPC and numerous golf courses to the great beaches, Jacksonville is a place that offers plenty of family-oriented activities.

Paul Tyler
President/commercial group, Haskell Co.

Why I Live Here

Jeannie Gabrynowicz
Jeannie Gabrynowicz
The Navy sent us here for duty at the Mayport Naval Station. We bought a home near the shore and could manage on one car since the Navy base was a 4-mile bike ride up the beach. We kept the house during three tours of duty both stateside and abroad. As soon as we could, we returned to Jacksonville’s Atlantic Beach to settle down and start new careers. Even though we’d been away for eight years, our friends were awaiting us. Living near the beach is magical. Add to this the fact that it’s just a half-hour drive west to work downtown. The result is we have a living, work-a-day community, rather than a neighborhood of often-vacant vacation homes. We’re staying put!

Jeannie Gabrynowicz
Director/endowed scholarships and grants, Jacksonville University

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NASA: Holiday lights can be seen from space
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