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Young couple in love on the banks of the St. Johns River eyeing the Landing.

I’ve just returned from a trip to Traverse City, Michigan. It’s a small town with a lot of spunk!

We just missed the Cherry Festival they put on every year and next week begins the Film Festival that brings in a ton of people from around the world and a ton of money to this small community.

Traverse City is surrounded by water — much like Jacksonville. That’s about all we have in common.

They have a local city government willing to work with developers to renovate and restore iconic buildings. Our Mayor is not known for “working with others outside his friends group” and he absolutely adores tearing down iconic buildings for secret purposes.

In Traverse City we were blown away with the restoration of an iconic building — an Insane Asylum!

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It was a huge undertaking and the buildings were in need of major renovations. But…they worked together to accomplish a beautifully restored icon that brings thousands of people through its doors daily during their tourist season. It’s a thriving building again and a thriving economy for a small town like Traverse City.

Think about this: “Had our Mayor been Mayor of Traverse City — the money would have been used for demolishing the buildings instead of restoring them to their greatness.”

When I returned to Jacksonville last night, I read that August 2 is the day the demolition plans for The Landing will begin. This day will always be remembered as “Tear Down Lenny Day.” This and many other tear downs he’s been involved with will be his legacy. What a way to lead a city!

If the Mayor would speak with us, we would ask him this question:

“Why spend nearly $20 Million to tear down an iconic building when that money could have been used to renovate it?”

Only Tear Down Lenny knows the answer to that. He has a plan but we are not allowed to see it. One day we will see what was behind all this madness. The truth will be revealed and the secret deals will be brought to the light.

I encourage you to watch the video about the restoration of this iconic building in Traverse City. Catch the vision the city leaders and developers cast for it and think about the vision for Jacksonville. Do you see it? Do you have a clue what it is?

Watch the Traverse City video here: https://www.thevillagetc.com/about-us/

Until this city finally elects a Mayor that can cast a vision for all the people of this great community, we shall watch cronyism rule, deals made in secret and people and buildings perishing under the weight of the downtown group behind the Mayor that hinders our growth.

We haven’t been a part of a great leader in this city for a really long time. We have elected boys with puppet strings to lead us and it appears another one is waiting in the wings to take Tear Down Lenny’s place next time around.

But…I’m believing a great leader without strings attached will rise up and Make Jacksonville Great Again. How wonderful would that be to see Jacksonville finally become the city it deserves to be!

If a little town in Traverse City, Michigan can do great things for the community, restore iconic buildings and create a thriving downtown – why can’t we?

Answer: Insane politics and those who run the asylum downtown.

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Billie Tucker Volpe Founder of Eye on Jacksonville and Leadership Consultant to CEOs/Executives

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