The Florida Theatre, opened in 1927, is located in downtown Jacksonville and is one of only four remaining high-style movie palaces built in Florida during the Mediterranean Revival architectural boom of the 1920s.
Amity Turkish Cultural Center was established in 2006 as one of the major Dialogue and Cultural organizations in Jacksonville. Theatre Jacksonville was organized in 1919 as the Little Theatre and is one of the oldest continually producing community theatres in the United States.
Sun-Ray Cinema, formerly the 5 Points Theatre and Riverside Theatre, opened in 1927. It was the first theater equipped to show talking pictures in Florida and the third nationally. It is located in the Five Points section of town and was renamed the Five Points Theater in 1949.
The Ritz Theatre, opened in 1929, is located in the LaVilla neighborhood of the northern part of Jacksonville's downtown. The Jacksonville music scene was active in the 1930s in LaVilla, which was known as “Harlem of the South”. Black musicians from across the country visited Jacksonville to play standing room only performances at the Ritz Theatre and the Knights of Pythias Hall. Cab Calloway, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong were a few of the legendary performers who appeared. After his mother died when he was 15, Ray Charles lived with friends of his mother while he played piano at the Ritz for a year, before moving on to fame and fortune. The Ritz Theatre was rebuilt and opened in October 1999.
The Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts consists of three distinct halls: the Jim & Jan Moran Theater, a venue for touring Broadway shows; the Jacoby Symphony Hall, home of the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra; and the Terry Theater, intended for small shows and recitals. The building was originally erected as the Civic Auditorium in 1962 and underwent a major renovation and construction in 1996.
The Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena, which opened in 2003, is a 16,000-seat performance venue that attracts national entertainment, sporting events and also houses the Jacksonville Sports Hall of Fame. It replaced the outdated Jacksonville Coliseum that was built in 1960 and demolished on June 26, 2003.
The Alhambra Dinner Theatre, located on the Southside near the University of North Florida, has offered professional productions that frequently starred well-known actors since 1967. There are also a number of popular community theatres such as Players by the Sea at Jacksonville Beach. Atlantic Beach Experimental Theatre (ABET), and Orange Park Community Theatre.
In 1999, Stage Aurora Theatrical Company, Inc. was established in collaboration at Florida State College at Jacksonville (North Campus). Their goal is to produce theatre that enlightens, and it is the most popular theatre on the Northside, located at Gateway Town Center.
Jacksonville native Pat Boone was a popular 1950s singer and teen idol. During the 1960s, the Classics IV was the most successful pop rock band from Jacksonville. Southern Rock was defined by the Allman Brothers Band, which formed in 1969 in Jacksonville. Lynyrd Skynyrd achieved near cult status and inspired Blackfoot, Molly Hatchet and .38 Special, all successful in the 1970s. The 1980s were a quiet decade for musical talent in Jacksonville.
The next local group to achieve national success was the nu metal band Limp Bizkit, formed in 1994. Other popular Hip Hop acts in the 1990s included 95 South, 69 Boyz and the Quad City DJ's. The bands Inspection 12, Cold and Yellowcard were also well known and had a large following. Following the millennium, Fit For Rivals, Burn Season, Evergreen Terrace, Shinedown, The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, and Black Kids became notable bands from the city.
A number of cultural events are also held in Jacksonville. The Jacksonville Jazz Festival, held downtown, is the second-largest jazz festival in the nation, while Springing the Blues, one of the oldest and largest blues festivals, has been held in Jacksonville Beach since 1990. The World of Nations Celebration has been held in Metropolitan Park since 1993, and features a number of events, food and souvenirs from various countries. The Jacksonville Film Festival, held at seven historic venues in the city, has been held since 2003 and has featured a variety of independent films, documentaries and shorts.
Throughout the year, many annual events of various types are held in Jacksonville. In sports, the annual Gate River Run has been held annually since March 1977. It has been the US National 15-kilometre (9.3 mi) road race Championship since 1994 and is the largest race of its distance in the country with over 13,000 runners, spectators, and volunteers, making it Jacksonville's largest participation sporting event. In college football, the Gator Bowl is held on January 1. It has been continuously held since 1946. Also, the Florida–Georgia game (also known as the "World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party"), the annual college football game between the rival Florida Gators and Georgia Bulldogs has been held in Jacksonville almost yearly since 1933. For six days in July the Jacksonville Kingfish Tournament is held for fishermen of all skills. With $500,000 of prizes up for grabs, up to 1000 boats participate with almost 30,000 spectators watching.
Other events include the Blessing of the Fleet held in March since 1985 and the Greater Jacksonville Agricultural Fair in November at the Jacksonville Fairgrounds and Exposition Center featuring games, rides, food, entertainment and livestock exhibition. Holiday celebrations include the Freedom, Fanfare & Fireworks celebration on July 4, the lighting of Jacksonville's official Christmas tree at the Jacksonville Landing on the day after Thanksgiving and the Jacksonville Light Parade of boats the following day.
The city center includes the Jacksonville Landing and the Jacksonville Riverwalks. The Landing is a popular riverfront dining and shopping venue, accessible by River Taxi from the Southbank Riverwalk. The Northbank Riverwalk runs 2.0 miles (3.2 km) along the St. Johns from Berkman Plaza to I-95 at the Fuller Warren Bridge while the Southbank Riverwalk stretches 1.2 miles (1.9 km) from the Radisson Hotel to Museum Circle. Adjacent to Museum Circle is St. Johns River Park, also known as Friendship Park. It is the location of Friendship Fountain, one of the most recognizable and popular attractions for locals as well as tourists in Jacksonville. This landmark was built in 1965 and promoted as the “World’s Tallest and Largest” fountain at the time.
The Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens is an art museum in Jacksonville's Riverside neighborhood. It was founded in 1961, following the death of Ninah Mae Holden Cummer, who willed her collection, home, and gardens to the museum. Its galleries display one of the world's three most comprehensive collections of Meissen porcelain as well as large collections of American, European, and Japanese art. The grounds also contain two acres of Italian and English gardens begun by Ninah Cummer.
The Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville (MOCA Jacksonville) is a contemporary art museum funded and operated as a "cultural resource" of the University of North Florida. Tracing its roots back to the formation of Jacksonville's Fine Arts Society in 1924, it opened its current 60,000-square-foot (6,000 m2) facility next to the Main Library downtown in 2003. The museum features eclectic permanent and traveling exhibitions and a collection of over 700 works. The Museum of Science & History (MOSH), located in downtown's Southbank Riverwalk, specializes in science and local history exhibits. It features a main exhibit that changes quarterly, plus three floors of nature exhibits, an extensive exhibit on the history of Northeast Florida, a hands-on science area and the area's only astronomy theater, the Bryan Gooding Planetarium.
Alexander Brest, founder of Duval Engineering and Contracting Co., was also the benefactor for the Alexander Brest Museum and Gallery on the campus of Jacksonville University. The exhibits are a diverse collection of carved ivory, Pre-Columbian artifacts, Steuben glass, Chinese porcelain and Cloisonné, Tiffany glass, Boehm porcelain and rotating exhibitions containing the work of local, regional, national and international artists.
The Jacksonville Maritime Museum, located in the Jacksonville Landing, includes models of ships, paintings, photographs and artifacts dating to 1562.
Three other art galleries are located at educational institutions in town. Florida State College at Jacksonville has the Kent Gallery on their westside campus and the Wilson Center for the Arts at their main campus. The University Gallery is located on the campus of the University of North Florida.
The Jacksonville Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum is a branch of the world's largest private collection of original manuscripts and documents. The museum in Jacksonville is in a 1921 neoclassical building on the outskirts of downtown. In addition to document displays, there is also an antique-book library, with volumes dating from the late 19th century.
The Catherine Street Fire Station building is on the National Register of Historic Places and was relocated to Metropolitan Park in 1993. It houses the Jacksonville Fire Museum and features 500+ artifacts including an 1806 hand pumper.
The LaVilla Museum opened in 1999 and features a permanent display of African-American history. The art exhibits are changed periodically.
There are also several historical properties and items of interest in the city, including the Klutho Building, the Old Morocco Temple Building, the Palm and Cycad Arboretum, and the Prime F. Osborn III Convention Center, originally built as Union Station train depot. The Jacksonville Historical Society showcases two restoration projects: the 1887 St. Andrews Episcopal Church and the 1879 Merrill House, both located near the sports complex.
The Art Walk, a monthly outdoor art festival on the first Wednesday of each month, is sponsored by Downtown Vision, Inc, an organization which works to promote artistic talent and venues on the First Coast.
The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens boasts the second largest animal collection in the state. The zoo features elephants, lions, and, of course, jaguars (with an exhibit, Range of the Jaguar, hosted by the former owners of the Jacksonville Jaguars, Delores and Wayne Weaver). It also has a multitude of reptile houses, free flight aviaries, and many other animals.
Adventure Landing is an amusement park with locations in Jacksonville and Jacksonville Beach. The Jacksonville Beach location contains Shipwreck Island, Duval County's only waterpark.
Jacksonville has two fully enclosed shopping malls. The oldest is the Regency Square Mall, which opened in 1967 and is located on former sand dunes in the Arlington area. The other is The Avenues Mall, which opened in 1990 on the Southside, at the intersection of I-95 and US 1. The Orange Park Mall is another mall located just south of the city in the suburb of Orange Park, Florida, in Clay County, off of Blanding Boulevard (Florida State Road 21).
The end of the indoor shopping mall may be indicated by the opening of The St. Johns Town Center in 2005 and the River City Marketplace, on the Northside in 2006. Both of these are "open air" malls, with a similar mix of stores, but without being contained under a single, enclosed roof. According to the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), only one enclosed mall has been built in the United States since 2006.
The Avenues, Orange Park Mall, and St. Johns Town Center are all owned by Simon Property Group; Regency is owned by General Growth Properties; River City Marketplace is owned by Ramco-Gershenson.
Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville
Jacksonville is home to one major league sports team, the Jacksonville Jaguars of the National Football League (NFL). The Jaguars joined the NFL as an expansion team in the 1995 season; they play their home games at EverBank Field. The PGA Tour, which organizes the main professional golf tournaments in the U.S., is headquartered in the suburb of Ponte Vedra Beach, where it holds The Players Championship every year.
In 2005, Jacksonville hosted Super Bowl XXXIX.
Jacksonville is also home to several minor league-level teams. The Jacksonville Suns, a class Double-A baseball team, have played in Jacksonville continuously since 1970, longer than any other Double-A team has been in its city, and are the top-selling franchise in the Southern League. The Jacksonville Sharks, who began play in 2010, are the current champions of the Arena Football League. The Jacksonville Axemen are a semi-professional rugby league team founded in 2006, and now play in the USA Rugby League. The Jacksonville Giants basketball team started play in the new American Basketball Association in December 2010. The Giants won the 2012 ABA National Championship March 2012 in Tampa, Florida.
College sports, especially college football, are popular in Jacksonville. The city hosts the Florida–Georgia game, an annual college football game between the University of Florida and the University of Georgia, and the Gator Bowl, a post-season college bowl game. Jacksonville's two universities compete in NCAA Division I: the University of North Florida Ospreys and the Jacksonville University Dolphins, both in the Atlantic Sun Conference.
Jacksonville has a diverse religious population. The largest religious group is Protestant; according to the Association of Religion Data Archives (ARDA), in 2000 the Jacksonville metropolitan area had an estimated 265,158 Evangelical Protestants, over 70% of whom were Southern Baptists, and 89,649 Mainline Protestants, attending around 700 congregations. Several of these are megachurches, including Bethel Baptist Institutional Church, First Baptist Church downtown and Christ's Church (formerly Mandarin Christian Church) on Greenland Road. The Episcopal Diocese of Florida has its see in St. John's Cathedral, the current building dating to 1906.
Jacksonville is part of the Catholic Diocese of St. Augustine, which covers seventeen counties in North Florida and has 171,000 registered members attending 52 parishes. One notable Catholic church in Jacksonville is the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, a minor basilica added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1992. There are also two Eastern Catholic parishes, one of the Syriac Catholic Church and one of the Maronite Church. According to ARDA, in 2000 there were 3,090 Eastern Orthodox Christians representing seven churches in the Eastern Orthodox communion, as well as one congregation of 200 Syriac Orthodox Christians.
There were also 7,734 members of the LDS Church (Mormons) and 404 Unitarian Universalists, who have worshiped at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Jacksonville since 1906. The Jewish community, which numbered 7,300 in 2000, is largely centered in the neighborhood of Mandarin. There are two Reform, two Conservative, and four Orthodox synagogues (three of them Chabad-affiliated), and two more synagogues in St. Augustine. The Muslim community numbered 2,182 in 2000, and had three congregations, including the Islamic Center of Northeast Florida, the region's largest mosque.
The Florida Times-Union is the major daily newspaper in Jacksonville. Jacksonville.com is its official website. Another daily newspaper focused on the legal community is the Financial News and Daily Record.
The city's chief alternative newsweekly is Folio Weekly. Others include EU Jacksonville and Buzz Magazine.. The Jacksonville Business Journal is a weekly paper that focuses on the local economy and business community. The Jacksonville Free Press is a weekly paper serving the African-American community.
In the early 20th century, New York-based moviemakers were attracted to Jacksonville's warm climate, exotic locations, excellent rail access, and cheaper labor, earning the city the title of "The Winter Film Capital of the World". Over 30 movie studios were opened and thousands of silent films produced between 1908 and the 1920s, when most studios relocated to Hollywood, California.
Since that time, Jacksonville has been chosen by a number of film and television studios for on-location shooting. Notable motion pictures that have been partially or completely shot in Jacksonville since the silent film era include Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954), The New Adventures of Pippi Longstocking (1988), Brenda Starr (1989), G.I. Jane (1997), The Devil's Advocate (1997), Ride (1998), Why Do Fools Fall In Love (1998), Forces of Nature (1999), Tigerland (2000), Sunshine State (2002), Basic (2003), The Manchurian Candidate (2004), Lonely Hearts (2006), Moving McAllister (2007), The Year of Getting to Know Us (2008), The Ramen Girl and Like Dandelion Dust.
Jacksonville is the 47th largest local television market in the United States, and is served by television stations affiliated with major American networks including WTLV (NBC/The Country Network), WJXX (ABC/NBC Weather Plus), WTEV (CBS/Cool TV), WAWS (Fox/My Network TV), WJCT (PBS),and WCWJ (CW). WJXT is a former longtime CBS affiliate that turned independent in 2002.
Notable television series or made-for-television films that have been partially or completely shot in Jacksonville include Inherit the Wind (1988), Orpheus Descending (1990), Saved by the Light (1995), The Babysitter's Seduction (1996), First Time Felon (1997), Safe Harbor (2009), Recount (2008), and American Idol (2009).
Jacksonville is the 46th largest local radio market in the United States, and is dominated by the same two large ownership groups that dominate the radio industry across the United States: Cox Radio and Clear Channel Communications. The dominant AM radio station in terms of ratings is WOKV 690AM, which is also the flagship station for the Jacksonville Jaguars. In September 2006, WOKV began simulcasting on 106.5 FM as WOKV FM. There are two radio stations broadcasting a primarily contemporary hits format; WAPE 95.1 has dominated this niche for over twenty years, and more recently has been challenged by WFKS 97.9 FM (KISS FM). WJBT 93.3 (The Beat) is a hip-hop/R&B station, WSOS-FM 94.1 is a Classic rock station, WWJK 107.3 is an oldies station. WXXJ 102.9 is an alternative station, WFYV 104.5—Rock 105 Jacksonville is a Classic rock and alternative station, WQIK 99.1 is a country station as well as WGNE-FM 99.9, WCRJ FM 88.1 (The Promise) is the main Contemporary Christian station operating since 1984, WHJX 105.7 and WFJO 92.5 plays music in Spanish like salsa, merengue, and reggaeton, and WJCT 89.9 is the local National Public Radio affiliate. Local Jones College also hosts an easy listening station, WKTZ 90.9 FM. The NPR and PRX radio show, State of the Re:Union, hosted by performance poet and playwright, Al Letson, is headquartered and produced in Jacksonville.
Jacksonville is the most populous city in Florida, and the eleventh most populous city in the United States. As of 2010, there were 821,784 people and 366,273 households in the city. The largest ancestries include: German (9.6%), American (9.3%), Irish (9.0%), English (8.5%), and Italian (3.5%). Jacksonville has the country's tenth-largest Arab population, with a total population of 5,751 according to the 2000 United States Census. Jacksonville has a large Filipino population, in part related to their tradition of service with the Navy. In addition, there is a large Serbo-Croatian population, located mostly on the south side of Jacksonville, and Russian population. Jacksonville also has a large and growing Puerto Rican population.
As of 2010, there were 366,273 households out of which 11.8% were vacant. As of 2000, 33.9% of households had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.7% were married couples living together, 16.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.0% were non-families. 26.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.53 and the average family size was 3.07. In the city, the population was spread out with 26.7% under the age of 18, 9.7% from 18 to 24, 32.3% from 25 to 44, 21.0% from 45 to 64, and 10.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 93.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.6 males.
In 2000, the median income for a household in the city was $40,316, and the median income for a family was $47,243. Males had a median income of $32,547 versus $25,886 for females. The per capita income for the city was $20,337. About 9.4% of families and 12.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.7% of those under age 18 and 12.0% of those age 65 or over.
As of the 2006–2008 American Community Survey, 88.1% of Jacksonville's population age five and over spoke only English at home while 5.2% of the population spoke Spanish at home. About 3.2% spoke other Indo-European languages at home. About 2.5% spoke an Asian language at home. The remaining 0.9% of the population spoke other languages at home.
As of 2000, speakers of English as a first language accounted for 90.60% of all residents, while those who spoke Spanish made up 4.13%, Tagalog 1.00%, French 0.47%, Arabic 0.44%, German 0.43%, both Vietnamese and Bosnian/Serbian/Croatian at 0.31%, Russian was 0.21% and Italian made up 0.17% of the population.
Law and government
The most noteworthy feature of Jacksonville government is its consolidated nature. The Duval County-Jacksonville consolidation eliminated any type of separate county executive or legislature, and supplanted these positions with the Mayor of Jacksonville and the City Council of the City of Jacksonville, respectively. Because of this, voters who live outside of the city limits of Jacksonville but inside Duval County are allowed to vote in elections for these positions and to run for them. In fact, in 1995, John Delaney, a resident of Neptune Beach, was elected mayor of the city of Jacksonville.
Jacksonville uses the Mayor-Council form of city government, also called the Strong-Mayor form, in which a mayor serves as the city's Chief Executive and Administrative officer. The mayor holds veto power over all resolutions and ordinances made by the city council and also has the power to hire and fire the head of various city departments. The current mayor is Alvin Brown, who assumed office on July 1, 2011.
Jacksonville and Duval County historically maintained separate police agencies: the Jacksonville Police Department and Duval County Sheriff's Office. As part of consolidation in 1968, the two merged, creating the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office (JSO). The JSO is headed by the elected Sheriff of Jacksonville, currently John Rutherford, and is responsible for law enforcement and corrections in the county.
In 2010, Duval County's crime rate was 5,106 per 100,000 people, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. The county's murder rate had been the highest among Florida's counties with a population of 500,000 or more for eleven years in 2009, leading to widespread discussion in the community about how to deal with the problem. In 2010 Duval County's violent crime rate decreased by 9.3% from the previous year, with total crime decreasing 7.3%, putting the murder rate behind that of Miami-Dade County.
Some government services remained — as they had been before consolidation – independent of both city and county authority. In accordance with Florida law, the school board continues to exist with nearly complete autonomy. Jacksonville also has several quasi-independent government agencies which only nominally answer to the consolidated authority, including electric authority, port authority, transportation authority, housing authority and airport authority. The main environmental and agricultural body is the Duval County Soil and Water Conservation District, which works closely with other area and state agencies.
Colleges and universities
Jacksonville is home to a number of institutions of higher education. The University of North Florida (UNF), opened in 1972, is a public institution and a member of the State University System of Florida. Former mayor John Delaney has been president of UNF since leaving office in July 2003. Jacksonville University (JU) is a private institution founded in 1934. Edward Waters College, established in 1866, is the oldest college in Jacksonville and the state's oldest historically black college. Florida State College at Jacksonville is a state college and a member of the Florida College System, offering two-year associate's degrees as well as some four-year bachelor's degrees. The University of Florida has its second campus of the J. Hillis Miller Health Science Center in Jacksonville.
Other colleges and universities in Jacksonville include Florida Coastal School of Law, The Art Institute of Jacksonville, and Jones College. Also in the area are St. Johns River State College, a state college with campuses in Clay, St. Johns, and Putnam Counties, and Flagler College in St. Augustine.
Primary and secondary education
Public primary and secondary schools in Jacksonville and Duval County are administered by Duval County Public Schools, which is governed by an elected, seven-member Duval County School Board. In the 2009-2010 school year the district enrolled 123,000 students. It administers 172 total schools, including 103 elementary schools, 25 middle schools, 19 high schools, 3 K-8 schools, and 1 6-12 school, as well as 13 charter schools and a juvenile justice school program. Of these, 62 are designated magnet schools.
Three of Jacksonville's high schools, Stanton College Preparatory School, Darnell-Cookman Middle/High School Paxon School for Advanced Studies regularly appear at the top of Newsweek magazine's annual list of the country's top public high schools, coming in respectively at #3 #7, and #8 in the 2010 edition. Five other schools, Douglas Anderson School of the Arts (#33), Mandarin High School (#97), Duncan U. Fletcher High School (#205) Sandalwood High School (#210), and Englewood High School (#1146) were also included in the list.
The Roman Catholic Diocese of St. Augustine operates a number of Catholic schools in Jacksonville, including two high schools, Bishop Kenny High School and Bishop John J. Snyder High School. Other private schools in Jacksonville include Arlington Country Day School, the Bolles School, Trinity Christian Academy, and the Episcopal School of Jacksonville.
Jacksonville Main Library.
The Jacksonville Public Library had its beginnings when May Moore and Florence Murphy started the "Jacksonville Library and Literary Association" in 1878. The Association was populated by various prominent Jacksonville residents and sought to create a free public library and reading room for the city.
Over the course of 127 years, the system has grown from that one room library to become one of the largest in the state. The Jacksonville library system has twenty branches, ranging in size from the 54,000 sq ft (5,000 m2) West Regional Library to smaller neighborhood libraries like Westbrook and Eastside. The Library annually receives nearly 4 million visitors and circulates over 6 million items. Nearly 500,000 library cards are held by area residents.
On November 12, 2005, the new 300,000 sq ft (30,000 m2) Main Library opened to the public, replacing the 40-year old Haydon Burns Library. The largest public library in the state, the opening of the new main library marked the completion of an unprecedented period of growth for the system under the Better Jacksonville Plan. The new Main Library offers specialized reading rooms, public access to hundreds of computers and public displays of art, an extensive collection of books, and special collections ranging from the African-American Collection to the recently opened Holocaust Collection.
CSX Transportation Building.
Jacksonville's location on the St. Johns River and the Atlantic Ocean proved providential in the growth of the city and its industry. Jacksonville has the largest deepwater port in the South (as well as the second-largest port on the U.S. East coast) and a leading port in the U.S. for automobile imports, as well as the leading transportation and distribution hub in the state. However, the strength of the city's economy lies in its broad diversification. While the area once had many thriving dairies such as Gustafson's Farm and Skinner Dairy, this aspect of the economy has declined over time. The area's economy is balanced among distribution, financial services, biomedical technology, consumer goods, information services, manufacturing, insurance and other industries.
Jacksonville is a rail, air, and highway focal point and a busy port of entry, with Jacksonville International Airport, ship repair yards and extensive freight-handling facilities. Lumber, phosphate, paper, cigars and wood pulp are the principal exports; automobiles and coffee are among imports. The city's manufacturing base provides just 4.5% of local jobs, versus 8.5% nationally. According to Forbes in 2007, Jacksonville, Florida ranked 3rd in the top ten U.S. cities to relocate to find a job. Jacksonville was also the 10th fastest growing city in the U.S.
Jacksonville is home to many prominent corporations and organizations, including the headquarters of four Fortune 500 companies: CSX Corporation, Fidelity National Financial, Fidelity National Information Services and Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc.. In addition to CSX, the Florida East Coast Railway as well as Swisher International Group and the large short line railroad holding company RailAmerica are also based in Jacksonville.
In 2008, Jacksonville had approximately 2.8 million visitors who stayed overnight, spending nearly $1 billion. Research Data Services of Tampa was commissioned to undertake the study, which quantified the importance of tourism. The total economic impact was $1.6 billion and supported nearly 43,000 jobs, 10% of the local workforce.
Cecil Commerce Center is located on the site of the former Naval Air Station Cecil Field which closed in 1999 following the 1993 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) decision. Covering a total area of 22,939 acres (92.83 km2), it was the largest military base in the Jacksonville area. The parcel contains more than 3% of the total land area in Duval County (17,000 acres (69 km2)). The industrial and commercial-zoned center offers mid to large-size parcels for development and boasts excellent transportation and utility infrastructure as well as the third-longest runway in Florida.
To emphasize the city's transportation business and capabilities, the Jacksonville Regional Chamber of Commerce filed Jacksonville America's Logistics Center as a trademark on November 9, 2007. It was formally registered on August 4, 2009. Cornerstone began promoting the city as "Jacksonville: America's Logistics Center" in 2009. Signs were added to the existing city limit markers on Interstate 95.
Jacksonville is home to multiple military facilities, and with Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay nearby gives Jacksonville the third largest naval presence in the country. Only Norfolk, Virginia and San Diego, California are bigger. The military is by far the largest employer in Jacksonville and its total economic impact is approximately $6.1 billion annually.
Naval Air Station Jacksonville is a military airport located 4 miles (6.4 km) south of the central business district. Approximately 23,000 civilian and active-duty personnel are employed on the base. There are 35 operational units/squadrons assigned there and support facilities include an airfield for pilot training, a maintenance depot capable of virtually any task, from changing a tire to intricate micro-electronics or total engine disassembly. Also on-site is a Naval Hospital, a Fleet Industrial Supply Center, a Navy Family Service Center, and recreational facilities.
Naval Station Mayport is a Navy Ship Base that is the third largest fleet concentration area in the United States. Mayport's operational composition is unique, with a busy harbor capable of accommodating 34 ships and an 8,000-foot (2,400 m) runway capable of handling any aircraft used by the Department of Defense. Until 2007, it was home to the aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy, which locals called "Big John". In January 2009, the Navy committed to stationing a nuclear-powered carrier at Mayport when the official Record of Decision was signed. The port will require approximately $500 million in facility enhancements to support the larger vessel, which will take several years to complete. The carrier is projected to arrive in 2019, however an amphibious group is coming sooner.
Blount Island Command is a Marine Corps Logistics Base whose mission is to support the Maritime Prepositioning Force (MPF) which provides for rapid deployment of personnel to link up with prepositioned equipment and supplies embarked aboard forward deployed Maritime Prepositioning Ships (MPS).
USS Jacksonville, a nuclear-powered Los Angeles class submarine, is a US Navy ship named for the city. The ship's nickname is The Bold One and Norfolk, Virginia is her home port.
The Florida Air National Guard is based at Jacksonville International Airport.
Coast Guard Sector Jacksonville is located on the St. Johns River next to Naval Station Mayport. Sector Jacksonville controls operations from Kings Bay, GA south to Cape Canaveral, FL. The CGC Kingfisher, CGC Maria Bray, and CGC Hammer are stationed at the Sector. Station Mayport is co-located with Sector Jacksonville and includes 25-foot (7.6 m) Response Boats, and 47-foot (14 m) Motor Life Boats.
The Port of Jacksonville, a seaport on the St. Johns River, is a large component of the local economy. Approximately 50,000 jobs in Northeast Florida are related to port activity and the port has an economic impact of $2.7 billion in Northeast Florida:
Baptist Medical Center South, completed in February, 2005, was Jacksonville's first hospital of the 21st century
Major players in the Jacksonville health care industry include St. Vincent's HealthCare, Baptist Health and UF Health Jacksonville for local residents. Additionally, Nemours Children's Clinic and Mayo Clinic Hospital each draw patients regionally.
The Jacksonville Housing Authority (JHA) is the quasi-independent agency responsible for public housing and subsidized housing in Jacksonville. The Mayor and City Council of Jacksonville established the JHA in 1994 to create an effective, community service oriented, public housing agency with innovative ideas and a different attitude. The primary goal was to provide safe, clean, affordable housing for eligible low and moderate income families, the elderly, and persons with disabilities. The secondary goal was to provide effective social services, work with residents to improve their quality of life, encourage employment and self-sufficiency, and help residents move out of assisted housing. To that end, JHA works with HabiJax to help low and moderate income families to escape the public housing cycle and become successful, productive, homeowners and taxpayers.
The TaxExemptWorld.com website, which compiles Internal Revenue Service data, reported that in 2007, there are 2,910 distinct, active, tax exempt/non-profit organizations in Jacksonville which, excluding Credit Unions, had a total income of $7.08 billion and assets of $9.54 billion. There are 333 charitable organizations with assets of over $1 million. The largest share of assets was tied to Medical facilities, $4.5 billion. The problems of the homeless are addressed by several non-profits, most notably the Sulzbacher Center and the Clara White Mission.
Basic utilities in Jacksonville (water, sewer, electric) are provided by JEA (formerly the Jacksonville Electric Authority). According to Article 21 of the Jacksonville City Charter,
"JEA is authorized to own, manage and operate a utilities system within and outside the City of Jacksonville. JEA is created for the express purpose of acquiring, constructing, operating, financing and otherwise have plenary authority with respect to electric, water, sewer, natural gas and such other utility systems as may be under its control now or in the future."
People's Gas is Jacksonville's natural gas provider.
Comcast is Jacksonville's local cable provider.
AT&T (formerly BellSouth) is Jacksonville's local phone provider, and their U-Verse service offers TV, internet, and VoIP phone service to customers served by fiber-to-the-premises or fiber-to-the-node using a VRAD.
The city has a successful recycling program with separate pickups for garbage, yard waste and recycling. Collection is provided by several private companies under contract to the City of Jacksonville.
The Jacksonville Skyway is an automated people mover connecting Florida State College at Jacksonville downtown campus, the Northbank central business district, Convention Center, and Southbank locations. The system includes 8 stops connected by two lines. The existing train is a UMIII monorail built by Bombardier. The guideway consists of concrete beams which rest atop an unusually large support structure not used in most monorail systems. Maximum speed for the train is 48 km/h (30 mph).
A monorail was first proposed in 1970s as part of a mobility plan hoping to attract interest from the Urban Mass Transit Administration's Downtown Peoplemover Program. The initial study was undertaken by the Florida Department of Transportation and Jacksonville's planning department, who took the Skyway project to the Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA) in 1977. Following further development and a final 18-month feasibility study, the UMTA selected Jacksonville as one of seven cities to receive federal funding for an automated people mover. Two other related projects are Miami's Metromover and Detroit's People Mover. UMTA's approved plan called for the construction of a 2.5-mile (4.0 km) Phase I system to be built in three segments.
Amtrak, the national passenger rail system, provides daily service from the Jacksonville Amtrak Station on Clifford Lane in the northwest section of the city. Two trains presently stop there, the Silver Meteor and Silver Star. Jacksonville was also served by the thrice-weekly Sunset Limited and the daily Silver Palm. Service on the Silver Palm was cut back to Savannah, Georgia in 2002. The Sunset Limited route was truncated at San Antonio, Texas as a result of the track damage in the Gulf Coast area caused by Hurricane Katrina on August 28, 2005. Service was restored as far east as New Orleans by late October 2005, but Amtrak has opted not to fully restore service into Florida.
Jacksonville is the headquarters of two significant freight railroads. CSX Transportation, owns a large building on the downtown riverbank that is a significant part of the skyline. Florida East Coast Railway also calls Jacksonville home.
Jacksonville is served by Jacksonville International Airport(IATA: JAX, ICAO: KJAX, FAA LID: JAX), 13 miles north of downtown. Jacksonville International Airport (JAX) has 82 departures a day, with 27 nonstop destination cities. Airports in Jacksonville are managed by the Jacksonville Aviation Authority (JAA). Smaller aircraft use Jacksonville Executive at Craig Airport(IATA: CRG, ICAO: KCRG, FAA LID: CRG) in Arlington, Herlong Recreational Airport(ICAO: KHEG, FAA LID: HEG) on the Westside, and Cecil Airport(IATA: VQQ, ICAO: KVQQ, FAA LID: VQQ), at Cecil Commerce Center. The state of Florida has designated Cecil Airport a space port, allowing horizontal lift spacecraft to use the facility.
Public seaports in Jacksonville are managed by the Jacksonville Port Authority, known as JAXPORT. Four modern deepwater (38 ft) seaport facilities, including America's newest cruise port, make Jacksonville a full-service international seaport. In FY2006, JAXPORT handled 8.7 million tons of cargo, including nearly 610,000 vehicles, which ranks Jacksonville 2nd in the nation in automobile handling, behind only the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
The 20 other maritime facilities not managed by the Port Authority move about 10 million tons of additional cargo in and out of the St. Johns River. In terms of total tonnage, the Port of Jacksonville ranks 40th nationally; within Florida, it is 3rd behind Tampa and Port Everglades.
In 2003, the JAXPORT Cruise Terminal opened, providing cruise service for 1,500 passengers to Key West, Florida, the Bahamas, and Mexico via Carnival Cruise Lines ship, Celebration, which was retired in April, 2008. For almost five months, no cruises originated from Jacksonville until September 20, 2008, when the cruise ship Fascination departed with 2,079 passengers. In Fiscal year 2006, there were 78 cruise ship sailings with 128,745 passengers. A JaxPort spokesperson said in 2008 that they expect 170,000 passengers to sail each year.
Jacksonville Fire and Rescue operates a fleet of three fireboats. Its vessels are called on to fight approximately 75 fires per year.
Freeways and highways
Several regional transportation projects have been undertaken in recent years to deal with congestion on Jacksonville freeways. A $152 million project to create a high-speed interchange at the intersection of Interstates 10 and 95 began in February 2005, after the conclusion of Super Bowl XXXIX. Construction was expected to take nearly six years with multiple lane flyovers and the requirement that the interchange remain open throughout the project. The previous configuration utilized single lane, low speed, curved ramps which created backups during rush hours and contributed to accidents. Also, construction of 9B, future Interstate 795 (Florida), is currently underway (July 2013).
I-95 going through downtown Jacksonville
Interstate Highways 10 and 95 intersect in Jacksonville, forming the busiest intersection in the region with 200,000 vehicles each day. Interstate 10 ends at this intersection (the other end being in Santa Monica, California). Additionally, Florida State Road 202 (J. Turner Butler Boulevard) connects Jacksonville to the beaches. Interstate 95 has a bypass route, with I-295, which encircles the downtown area. The major interchange at I-295 and SR 202 (Butler Blvd) was finally completed on December 24, 2008. SR 9B is underway and will connect I-295's southeast corner to the Bayard Area.
US 1 and US 17 travel through the city from the south to the north, and US 23 enters the city concurrent with US 1. In downtown, US 23 splits from US 1 and quickly runs to its southern terminus. The eastern terminus of US 90 is in nearby Jacksonville Beach near the Atlantic Ocean. U.S. 23 other end is in Mackinaw City, Michigan.
There are seven bridges over the St. Johns River at Jacksonville. They include (starting from furthest downstream) the Napoleon Bonaparte Broward Bridge (Dames Point) (which carries Interstate 295 Eastern Beltway traffic), the John E. Mathews Bridge, the Isaiah D. Hart Bridge, the John T. Alsop Jr. Bridge (Main Street), the St. Elmo W. Acosta Bridge, the Fuller Warren Bridge (which carries I-95 traffic) and the Henry Holland Buckman Bridge (which carries I-295 North/South traffic). Also, next to the Acosta Bridge is a large jackknife railroad bridge built in the 1920s by Henry flagler's FEC railroad.
Beginning in 1953, tolls were charged on the Hart, Mathews, Fuller Warren and the Main Street bridges to pay for bridge construction, renovations and many other highway projects. As Jacksonville grew, toll plazas created bottlenecks and caused delays and accidents during rush hours. In 1988, Jacksonville voters chose to eliminate toll collection and replace the revenue with a ½ cent local sales tax increase. In 1989, the toll booths were removed.
The Mayport Ferry connects the north and south ends of State Road A1A between Mayport and Fort George Island, and is the last active ferry in Florida. The state of Florida transferred responsibility for ferry operations to JAXPORT on October 1, 2007.
Jacksonville has eight sister cities. They are:
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