The wave of momentum for an aquarium could boost marine industry as well as Jacksonville business

I am so proud to be part of AquaJax, who took first-place honors at One Spark last weekend.  An estimated 250,000 people attended the 5-day event and AquaJax received $13,794.14 for its first place win in the science category, which was determined by the popular vote. 

I have been active in supporting AquaJax, an advocacy group that is working to bring a world-class aquarium to downtown Jacksonville.   We were overwhelmed by the positive response we received for a new aquarium, which would be built on a tract next to the St. Johns River.  People kept coming by our booth to offer their support. Some of our city’s major entrepreneurs stopped by and pledged financial support as well.

Initial plans call for a 150,000-square-foot aquarium that would feature both fresh water and salt water species, as well as reptiles that thrive in the surrounding region.

Long-time Freedom Boat Club member Brad Huber connected me with the AquaJax initiative.  He told me I needed to get involved and he was right.  An aquarium could do wonders for Jacksonville and help us grow our business as well.  The plan is being supported by the board and executive team of the Jacksonville Zoo and there could be an option for visitors to take a short boat ride between both the zoo and the aquarium.

I have been looking at this prospect with a bigger-picture approach.  Not only would this be great for business, it would be a great boost for the marine industry.  The aquarium would get more people down to the river on a regular basis and the river is an underutilized asset.  The more people that are drawn to the water means more people that are drawn to boating and the more people that are drawn to boating means, in the end, more members for our boat club. Everyone wins.    

For more on AquaJax, visit And information about Freedom Boat club, visit

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