The room was abuzz with conversation at the Garden Club of Jacksonville on October 6th for Scenic Jacksonville’s second annual Great Cities Symposium featuring guest speaker Ron Littlefield, former mayor of Chattanooga.
“Chattanooga’s Downtown Riverfront: Inspiration and Evolution,” was the theme, as Mayor Littlefield relayed the success of Chattanooga’s downtown riverfront as a key part of the city’s urban transformation that focused on innovation and quality of life. Littlefield held roles as city planner, city council member, head of public works, director of economic development, and as a two-term mayor.
Jacksonville City Council member Joyce Morgan, who lived in Chattanooga and maintains close family ties there, introduced the speaker and was ebullient in her praise of the city’s evolution. Littlefield led many of these improvements, including its strategic riverfront development planning and investment in public spaces. City Council President Sam Newby, Downtown Investment Authority CEO Lori Boyer, and other city and business leaders were also in attendance.
“This event was a great success and we were thrilled that over 250 people were able to join us,” said event chair Michael Kirwan, a partner at Foley & Lardner. “We thank our presenting sponsors FIS, Foley & Lardner and the Harrell Family Fund, along with all of our other silver and bronze sponsors, who collectively made this event possible.”
Guests enjoyed the social hour catered by Biscottis and featuring two Camp Craft specialty cocktails, the Chattanooga Choo Choo and the Duval 75. Guests also bid on six “Jacksonville experiences” including the Art Bikes Tour, A Walk with Mark Woods, a custom hike with the Sierra Club, and tours of the St. Johns River, Jacksonville Arborteum, and Timucuan Preserve.
Littlefield’s entertaining and illustrative talk was summarized into these six recommendations for Jacksonville: 1) Shamelessly steal ideas; 2) Go for the unique and unusual; 3) Animate, animate, animate; 4) Turn talk into action, and 5) Audacity!
Proceeds benefited Scenic Jacksonville in their mission to preserve, protect and enhance Jacksonville’s natural and built environment. Scenic Jacksonville has been a key leader in the Riverfront Parks Now coalition.
The 3rd Annual Great Cities Symposium will be held in the fall of 2022.