JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- In a bar on Bay Street, beer isn't the only thing on tap.
"It's the people and the community,” said Underbelly owner Emily Moody.
Underbelly is a new face in the downtown scene. The bar and entertainment venue opened up last month. Moody, a Jacksonville native, wanted to bring her business to the downtown area to help with revitalization efforts.
In an area struggling to find its identity, suburban sprawl is killing the weekday hustle and bustle and creating a ghost town after 5 p.m.
Jaguars CFO Bill Prescott is joining a handful of other movers and shakers to tackle downtown development. Downtown Marketing Collaborative is the brainchild of the Chamber of Commerce. The team is made up nine area heavy hitters including the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jaguars have already funneled thousands of dollars into the group. The goal is to change perceptions and create an economic engine for the region.
“I think that everyone's looking for the home run. Do we do something that overnight dramatically changes downtown? That's not what it's going to be. It's about hitting singles and doubles," said Prescott.
The group has raised $135 thousand to promote the downtown area. The Downtown Marketing Collaborative brings together nine organizations that each have a separate interest in Downtown revitalization — Downtown Vision Inc., JaxChamber, Visit Jacksonville, the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Jacksonville Civic Council, the Urban Land Institute North Florida chapter, SMG Jacksonville, the Jacksonville Transportation Authority, and NAIOP of Northeast Florida Inc., a group of commercial real estate professionals.