Florida Times-Union: "Leaders working toward 'brighter day' for Northwest Jacksonville's economy"
“A group of Jacksonville leaders trekked to snowy Cleveland in February to check out an economic initiative they hope to use as a model for the struggling northwest part of the city. The people behind that Cleveland initiative, a University of Maryland-based nonprofit called The Democracy Collaborative, held a roundtable in Jacksonville on Thursday and Friday to show a larger leadership group what is working in other cities. Local leaders collectively said they intend to follow through for Northwest Jacksonville, where unemployment is more than double that of the citywide rate.”
Residents must “not just have jobs, but a viable future,” said James Wiggins, who pastors a church in Northwest Jacksonville and is co-president of ICARE, the Interfaith Coalition for Action, Reconciliation and Empowerment, the local group that first connected Cleveland to Jacksonville. “I believe a brighter day is on the horizon,” he said.
The Democracy Collaborative, called “community wealth building,” is designed to bring jobs and economic investment to neighborhoods by supporting businesses and families that are already there, rather than pushing them aside for redevelopment.