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JAX Chamber Will Return to Nashville for 34th Annual Leadership Trip

March 21st, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Thirteen years after visiting Nashville and bringing back ideas that can now be seen in Jacksonville’s downtown, the JAX Chamber will be returning to the Music City for its 34th annual Leadership Trip, Sept. 30 to Oct. 2, 2014.

This will be the ninth time JAX Chamber has made a return visit to a city and the discussions and presentations will focus on the direction Nashville has moved in the past 13 years, with a focus on the next steps Jacksonville leaders can take.

“Nashville was a very nice place in 2001, but it’s really a great city now,” said Chamber Chair-Elect John Delaney, president of the University of North Florida. “The progress they’ve made there is remarkable, and we can learn from the investment and commitment Nashville officials made to get where they are today.”

Delaney was Jacksonville’s mayor during the 2001 Nashville trip, shortly after voters approved the Better Jacksonville Plan that included a new arena, baseball park and downtown library. The design and idea to incorporate meeting and event space to make the Main Library downtown a gathering place is one example of a local project inspired by Nashville.

The upcoming trip will focus on the following general areas:

  • Revitalizing downtown as a destination to live, work and play
  • Enhancing our education system through policy and advocacy
  • Expanding our startup and entrepreneurial culture and making sure businesses have the support and talented workforce they need to thrive
  • Attracting, expanding and marketing our sports and entertainment events
  • Examining how best to brand Jacksonville, what the city is and what it wants to become

Nashville is Tennessee’s state capital and its 13-county metropolitan area is the largest in the state. Located on the Cumberland River, Nashville is a center for the music, health care, publishing, banking and transportation industries. Nashville has a consolidated city-county government similar to Jacksonville.

In addition to city’s central business district, the downtown area of Nashville offers entertainment, dining, cultural and architectural attractions. More than 7,000 Nashville citizens reside in downtown Nashville. Many new residential developments have been constructed or are in the works, and the same is true for major civic and infrastructure projects. In the 1990s, former Mayor (and later Tennessee Governor) Phil Bredesen made urban renewal a priority and fostered the construction or renovation of city landmarks including the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, Nashville Public Library, Bridgestone Arena and LP Field.

The city is home to more than 300 health care companies and the health care industry contributes an estimated 200,000 jobs and $30 billion annually to the Nashville-area economy. In 2013, Nashville ranked No. 5 on Forbes’ list of Best Places for Business and Careers and Fortune 500 companies with offices within Nashville include Dell, HCA and Dollar General.

Previous Chamber leadership trips have inspired development or redevelopment of Jacksonville’s finest landmarks and institutions, including the Florida Theatre (Minneapolis, 1980), the Southbank Riverwalk (San Antonio, 1981) and the Prime Osborn Convention Center (Pittsburgh, 1982).

“Because many of the leaders on the trip have been to Nashville before, this will be an opportunity to dive into what worked in Nashville and what can work here,” said Chamber Chair William Rupp, M.D., CEO of Mayo Clinic in Florida. “We have very specific areas on which we will be focused, and we look forward to applying what we learn to improve the quality of life in Northeast Florida.”

Stay engaged with the 34th annual JAX Chamber Leadership Trip by following on Twitter #JAXinNash. For more information, visit www.myjaxchamber.com or contact Kelly Pourciau at (904) 366-6646 or Kelly.Pourciau@myjaxchamber.com.

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