Dear Jaxsons,
We are excited to share with you the completed recommendations for activating Jacksonville’s Downtown Riverfront. Thank you for your input during this process as we work toward our shared goal of a vibrant, inclusive riverfront for all, by all.

Explore the Activation Plan >>
Review Activation Plan highlights >>
View a summary of the Activation Plan >>

This work is the culmination of a process between April 2021 and June 2022 that included a public presentation of the draft plan in October 2021. It reflects hundreds of hours of conversation and input from thousands of Jaxsons, including stakeholder groups representing nearly 50 community organizations, a community-wide survey that generated nearly 3,000 responses, neighborhood meetings and public forums.

This report is an important step in the process. It builds on the many prior plans, projects and visioning exercises for the riverfront, and goes further with recommendations for a public-private partnership to oversee progress. We are now in a second phase of work: the Jessie Ball duPont Fund, Downtown Investment Authority and other partners are working with the City of Jacksonville to explore real, actionable next steps. We hope to begin implementing pilots and experiments on the river soon.

We hope you find recommendations in this report that excite you. Please share your feedback. We're constantly evolving this work and your voice is critical to making the riverfront a place where all people feel they belong.

With appreciation,
Activating Jacksonville's Riverfront project team
Project initiator and funder: Jessie Ball duPont Fund
Project lead & cultural strategists: DVDL
Design and urban planning partner: WXY
Governance and funding strategy partner: James Lima Planning + Development
Community engagement partner: Groundwork Jacksonville
Benchmark research collaborator: Riverfront Parks Now
Community advisor: Creative Urban Alchemy

Activation Plan Highlights

Great public spaces can make a great city even greater.
  • Investing in public spaces is every bit as important from a human impact and well-being perspective as from a financial one. 
  • Public spaces are an increasingly important part of city and regional economic development strategies. Investing in the experience of place is critical to retain existing residents, attract prospective newcomers and become a destination for visitors.
  • Strategic investment can create a more attractive environment for young people, generate prosperity for communities of color and other underrepresented groups, attract a skilled workforce, and catalyze technological innovation.
An active riverfront builds community.
  • Through activation and good design, the riverfront can play a key role in improving community health and wellbeing, and strengthening social ties and community ownership.
  • A cohesive riverwalk experience and year-round programming will provide an overarching framework for connecting and complementing existing activities across signature Downtown Riverfront parks.
Jaxsons want a diverse riverfront experience.
  • Jaxsons want a fun and functional riverfront that creates a sense of community.
  • One that is accessible for all and has ample park and public space, high-quality design, and year-round activities that celebrate diverse cultures and history, connect with nature, educate, and feature a variety of food options.
Now is the time for Jacksonville to build a sustainable future for our riverfront.
  • A wide variety of potential funding sources exist to support greater activation and economic prosperity.
  • A sustainable plan requires a proactive and collaborative approach to governance, management, maintenance and operations. Jacksonville is fortunate to have a host of existing public and private organizations that could pool resources and bring expertise to activate the riverfront.

Explore the Activation Plan

The report includes: 

  • A summary of public input received between April 2021 and June 2022;
  • Highlights from the benchmarking report;
  • The economic case for riverfront activation;
  • Social, cultural and public realm principles for public space development;
  • Extensive program framework, design toolkit, and implementation strategy for an active riverfront; and
  • Recommendations for funding options and governance structure.

View a Summary of the Activation Plan

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