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Industry Briefs

New Trails, Parks and Hotels in Full Swing for Fall 2023 and Beyond

Jacksonville, Florida, home to the largest urban parks system in the U.S., is undergoing significant developments that will offer new meeting spaces and outdoor areas to keep visitor wellness top of mind. 

Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing Park is preparing to open in fall 2023. This new park is dedicated to becoming a community meeting space and an area to honor the Johnson brothers, James Weldon Johnson and John Rosamond Johnson, who wrote the song "Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing." The brothers were residents of the LaVilla neighborhood of Jacksonville from 1900 to 1905, where the park will be located.


Rendering of Lee St. Pond, part of the LaVilla Link of the Emerald Trail. Credit: Groundwork Jacksonville and Pond

Riverfront Plaza , which is currently an open green space in the heart of Downtown Jacksonville, began work in July 2023 on transforming into a centerpiece park complete with a cafe and destination playground. As part of their two year phase one plan, new features will include a pedestrian plaza integrating the neighboring Jacksonville Center for the Performing Arts, a multipurpose lawn, new walkways, and native plant gardens.

The Emerald Trail is creating a network of trails and greenways to expand 30 miles around Jacksonville's Downtown. The master plan connects 16 schools, including two colleges, to 21 area parks in the city's historic neighborhoods, Downtown, Hogans Creek, McCoys Creek and the St. Johns River. An initiative of Groundworks Jacksonville, the goal for the Emerald Trail is to promote healthy lifestyle, while sparking new economic growth and neighborhood revitalization. Projected completion of the entire trail is 2029.

A highlight of the trail development will be the Artist Walk, which will include a skatepark, pedestrian corridors, and new landscaping, among other park amenities. This Emerald Trail segment will support the Riverside Arts Market, a weekly event in Jacksonville since 2009.


Rendering of McCoys Creek Restoration, part of the Emerald Trail. Credit: Groundwork Jacksonville and SCAPE

Along with positive developments for outdoor spaces and parks, Jacksonville also has new hotels with accompanying meetings spaces opening in the near future.

Four Seasons announced a partnership with Shad Khan to construct a new 170-room hotel and private residences property in the Jacksonville Shipyards, anticipated to open in 2026. The luxury hotel will be adjacent to the Jacksonville Jaguars athletic facilities and will feature expansive meetings and event space. 

Also set to open soon, The Mayo Clinic campus of Ja cksonville will have a new 252-room Hilton Hotel with available meeting spaces and a ballroom. This five-and-a-half acre eight story property will be the second hotel to serve Mayo alongside Courtyard by Marriott. The location will be near the Mayo Clinic's new entrance to their offices and it is projected to open in early 2024.

In addition to these hotels, it's projected that 12 new hotels will open in the next 12 months in Jacksonville. Review the hotel development report for more information about the upcoming properties and more.

About Visit Jacksonville

Visit Jacksonville is an Accredited Destination Marketing Organization (DMO) contracted by the Duval County Tourist Development Council (TDC) and responsible for marketing, selling and promoting Jacksonville as a leisure and meeting destination.

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