JACKSONVILLE, Fla — How is city money impacting your night out in downtown Jacksonville?
The Jacksonville mayor's capital improvement plan includes millions for downtown arts and entertainment. The capital improvement plan is for bigger projects funded over more time.
At Florida Theatre, one of the downtown entertainment venues budgeted in the mayor's proposal, during the daytime you can hear the money getting put to use; it sounds like construction.
Florida Theatre President Numa Saisselin says they're in the fourth year of a $10 million project over five years, with Florida Theatre matching half of the cost the city pays.
They've already replaced the theater seats, sound system and lighting system and done the architectural engineering drawings for future improvements. Saisselin says the Florida Theatre brings 175 thousand people downtown to a show every year.
"Every time those people come here for a show, it's another night of work for our stagehands and our bartenders and our security workers," said Saisselin. "But it's also another night of work for people in our neighborhood who don't really work for us. So every night we're open, the parking lots are open, the ice guy has another delivery that day and so on. All of that adds up to a little over 400 full-time equivalent jobs a year," he said. "Ten million of household income a year, $1.3 million in city and state sales taxes a year, all because we were open. And that's just us."
In Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry's capital improvement plan millions is going toward facility improvements at entertainment venues.
The Florida Theatre building is almost 100 years old and $3 million is allotted in the capital improvement plan. It also includes close to $1 million for The Ritz Theater improvements and over $7 million for MOSH as it moves to the Northbank.
Other big investments in entertainment downtown include $24 million for the Lot R Stadium Performance Center, $12 million to move the fairgrounds and $10 million to get 121 Financial Ballpark up to Major League Baseball standards.
"We talk about Jacksonville needing an identity a little bit and I think that that's our identity, we love to go out and be entertained," Saisselin said. "The more we can invest in that and the better we can make that, the better off the entire city will be, especially downtown."
The mayor's budget proposal must be approved by the city council before to October 1. It is typically voted on in September.