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Weaver praises effort


Wayne Weaver gave Jacksonville an "A."

The Jaguars owner praised his city's Super Bowl effort and predicted Jacksonville would submit a second bid for the Super Bowl early in the next decade.

"I think we do have an opportunity to get another Super Bowl. I would think 2011, '12 would be a realistic time to expect," Weaver said, referring to a likely time for Jacksonville to submit a bid to the NFL to host the big game.

Sunday, Jacksonville became the 12th city to host the Super Bowl and, at a press conference on Tuesday, Weaver praised the effort.

"I'm proud of our city. We had many doubters who thought we couldn't pull this off. On a scale of 1-10, I thought we were a 9.9," Weaver said of Jacksonville's performance in hosting Super Bowl XXXIX.

"Now we have to take advantage of the exposure … to move our city to another level," Weaver added.

Jacksonville's growth is expected to get a long-term boost from having hosted the NFL's big game, and Weaver said his Jaguars also got a shot in the arm from the game being played at Alltel Stadium.

"I think there will be a residual value for the Jaguars. People are excited. It's got to motivate you to want to get there," Weaver said.

Newspaper columnists took swipes at Jacksonville early in the week. "Early on we had a lot of negative, tongue-in-cheek comments," Weaver admitted, "but later the coverage was very positive."

Weaver magnified that positive spin with his comments today. He spoke of a bright future for the region in general and of a strong vision for Jacksonville's downtown specifically.

"We have a vision for our downtown. I think we'll capitalize on this to take our city to another level," Weaver said. "It's not possible for this city to stay as is. This city is on the move. It's going to grow. We've got the assets. We've got beautiful beaches, great golf courses. Go look at what happened in Tampa, in San Diego.

"The southeast is the fastest-growing sector of the country and Jacksonville is the fastest-growing city in that sector," Weaver added.

Weaver said he believes a new luxury hotel will be built in downtown Jacksonville in the near future, and he expects the city's riverfront to be developed more fully.

"All of those things are going to take place here in the next 10 years. I'm confident of that. I have a big vision for our downtown. The key to our downtown is our riverfront on the north and south banks," he said.

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