October 29, 2020

community portrait

Jacksonville

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

Jacksonville skyline
Jacksonville, Florida
NOTE: This photo is available as wallpaper for registered users of FloridaTrend.com. [Photo: Kelly Laduke]

JACKSONVILLE
Quick links
:
» Overview (this page)
» Who Lives Here? (Demographics)
» Economic Life
» Leaders
» Quality of Life
» Why I Live Here
» Bonus: Download wallpaper of the Jacksonville skyline for your computer

The most “southern” of Florida’s major cities in character, Jacksonville has long shed its old civic inferiority complex to emerge as a modern, livable, business-friendly community that has grown aggressively, if sometimes haphazardly. The city’s metropolitan form of government — the city and county governments have been consolidated since 1968 — has provided a sound platform, and the landmark mayoral administration of John Delaney from 1995-2003 marked a turn in city politics away from traditional good-ol’-boy dealings. Delaney also launched an ambitious, praiseworthy plan aimed at preserving green space and creating the basis for a public transportation system, but his administration continued the city’s tradition of adding operations and maintenance requirements that weren’t adequately funded through debt service. Passing along obligations and underfunding city pensions are among the factors in an emerging fiscal crisis today.

The city has an engaged, well-organized business community, including a notable component of women entrepreneurs and a solid, thoughtful group of heavy-hitters called the Jacksonville Community Council. The city’s port, one of the most progressively managed ports in the state, along with the presence of rail companies and rail infrastructure (CSX, RailAmerica), as well as Jacksonville’s location at the junction of two interstates have positioned the city as a significant transportation hub and hot spot for both domestic and international trade. The ongoing work to redevelop the old Cecil Field air base as a manufacturing and distribution center is bolstering the city’s business infrastructure.

Jacksonville’s biggest challenges are the emerging fiscal crisis; lingering racial divisions; crime; chronically underperforming schools; and the inability so far to build a vibrant downtown that capitalizes on its handsome skyline and a great natural asset — the St. Johns River, which runs through the heart of the city. Mayor John Peyton has made downtown and the river a major focus for the last two years of his administration.

Florida Business News

Florida Trend Video Pick

Despite COVID-19, the Fort Lauderdale boat show kicks off
Despite COVID-19, the Fort Lauderdale boat show kicks off

For a hospitality industry and service industry struggling to make it through COVID, the 2020 annual Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show promises to bring jobs and an economic boost to Florida and Broward County.

Earlier Videos | Viewpoints@FloridaTrend

Ballot Box

Do you plan to vote early in the 2020 election?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Undecided
  • I do not plan to vote
  • Other (Please share your comments in the comment section below)

See Results

Florida Trend Media Company
490 1st Ave S
St Petersburg, FL 33701
727.821.5800

© Copyright 2020 Trend Magazines Inc. All rights reserved.