JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A team of IBM experts are in Jacksonville working to determine ways to revitalize the downtown area.
The experts are part of the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge grant program. The program is a worldwide initiative to provide a total of $50 million worth of services and technical assistance to the most progressive cities worldwide through 2013. The project requires no taxpayer dollars and has an estimated value of $400,000.
Jacksonville is one of eight American cities selected earlier this year. Thirty-three cities were selected worldwide. The other American cities selected are Atlanta, Georgia; Boston, Massachusetts; Houston, Texas; Durham, North Carolina; Louisville, Kentucky; Omaha, Nebraska; and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown said, "This isn't just an opportunity for our city. It's a game-changer. The IBM Smarter Cities Challenge grant empowers our city to invest in our downtown in a time when City Hall must cut back on spending to protect taxpayer assets and restore economic security. Through the talent and enthusiasm of the IBM team, my hope is to chart a path to make downtown Jacksonville more vibrant and competitive than it has ever been."
The consulting team has a target of August 24 to release their initial report. The team is planning to study all the factors affecting downtown including branding, marketing, transportation, safety, housing and business opportunity.
Emily Santos, Corporate Affairs Manager at IBM, said "Jacksonville is a city that is rich with promise and accomplishment, and it is a distinct honor for our team to become honorary citizens, at least for three weeks. As a member of our IBM Smarter Cities Challenge team settle in to begin their project, they look forward to meeting stakeholders who have so much to be proud of and so much to look forward to."
To learn more about the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge, visit the project's website.
First Coast News