July 15, 2022 6:00am

Jacksonville civic and business leaders like celebrating the city's bicentennial year

While most expressed pride in Jacksonville's 200 years, they wanted the city to put more of an effort into it this year

Photo of Drew Dixon
By Drew Dixon
Jacksonville, FL Correspondent

When it comes to Jacksonville’s bicentennial year being marked this year, city movers and shakers pretty much agree it’s a civic hallmark that should be celebrated in 2022. But many of Jacksonville’s civic and business leaders say the city could do a lot more to honor the historic landmark.

It was June 17, 1822 when local residents first petitioned the federal government to name this city Jacksonville. Though the request wasn’t formally fulfilled until 10 years later, 1822 is still generally accepted as the founding of Jacksonville.

The city lined up several civic events this year to mark 200 years of Jacksonville with the highlight event on June 17 with multiple events, bands and fireworks downtown. The formal bicentennial day was met with thin turnout and other events haven’t drawn large crowds either.

Still, this month’s Power Poll saw a surge in civic pride from participants in our monthly survey when it comes to the concept of the city’s bicentennial year. When asked how important Jacksonville’s bicentennial is to them, 53% of those taking part in the survey said it’s very important the city mark the bicentennial year. Another 33% said it’s not that important and most people don’t care. Another 12%of respondents said there are bicentennial events for Jacksonville this year? While 2% said they don’t know or had no opinion.

When it comes to the city’s efforts to mark the 200 year anniversary of the city’s founding, many participants in the poll expressed frustration. Some 47% said the events they know about are pretty lackluster while 33% said they haven’t really followed any of the celebrations. Only 18% said the events thus far are pretty good and they appreciate the city’s efforts while 2% said they don’t know or had no opinion.

Asked if the city should have spent money on bicentennial celebrations, most agreed it’s a worthy expense with 41% saying it’s a matter of history and pride while 33% said the city should have done more and marketed this year better. Only 4% said the bicentennial is a fabricated event and the city should not have spent any money on it. There were 18% of respondents who said they don’t know or had no opinion.

About Power Poll: Power Poll asks questions of the most powerful, influential people in U.S. cities. It is not a scientific survey. But because the people responding to the surveys comprise the leadership structure of their cities, the results afford a fascinating glimpse into the thoughts, opinions, and beliefs of those in a position to make change. Power Poll is distinctly nonpartisan.

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