From the 1970s until it folded in 2016 due to a lack of funding, the nonprofit JCCI produced community-led research on issues that impact quality of life in northeast Florida — things like crime, pollution and infrastructure. Now, after five years of hiatus, Jacksonville Community Council, Inc. is back.
Organizer Ramon Day was inspired to restart the organization after a recent editorial in The Florida Times-Union expressed the need for an independent research organization to hold local government accountable.
Day said with Jacksonville’s population possibly topping 1 million in the 2020 census and expected to continue growing in the coming decades, the nonpartisan research group can help guide elected officials to enact policies that benefit everyone.
“Imagine the dimensions of the problems we’re facing now with a population of 2 million people, and you understand much more easily the need for an understanding of an organization like JCCI,” Day said. “These are problems that we have to begin researching and evaluating now, to develop policies to address the issues that will be implemented in the next five years, that are going to have an impact on the kind of city Jacksonville will be in 50 years.”
The Jacksonville metropolitan area had an estimated population of 1,559,514, according to the July 2019 U.S. Census estimate, while the city had an estimated population of 911,507 as of July 2019.
The original JCCI morphed into the Citizen Engagement Pact of Jacksonville. Day said he doesn’t know whether CEP will continue its operations, which he asserts are more limited than JCCI’s were before it shuttered, but he said he has the blessing of people involved in both groups to restart JCCI.
The funding picture for the new JCCI has not changed; Day said rebuilding the organization financially would be a “journey of faith.”
JCCI plans to hold its first board meeting next week. The 11-member board will include six women and five men, of diverse racial backgrounds. Five members are Republicans; five are Democrats; one is a registered Independent.
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