Agreement reached for Jacksonville show dates in May

Posted on Written by Reagan Haynes
The 21st Southeast US Boat Show will be held in May at Metropolitan Park in Jacksonville, Fla.

The 21st Southeast US Boat Show will be held in May at Metropolitan Park in Jacksonville, Fla.

The 21st Southeast US Boat Show in Jacksonville, Fla., which organizers originally thought would start today, announced it will take place May 19-21.

The new dates were agreed upon by the city of Jacksonville, organizer Current Productions and the Jacksonville Marine Association, Current Productions president Jimmy Hill told Trade Only Today, adding he is pleased that the show will move forward.

The Jacksonville Marine Association does not partner with or own the show, but stepped up to help support Hill produce it in any way possible, said member and former association president Buddy Haskell, of Haskell’s Marine Sales and Service.

“We used to own the show, but don’t anymore,” Haskell told Trade Only. “We’re just going to try to make it happen; we’re very positive about it. A lot of the dealers have put up a lot of money already, so we just want to make sure we’ve got a venue to sell boats in because that’s what we do — get people on the water.”

“We’re just trying to look out for our dealers,” Haskell added. “They’ve got a lot of inventory here. It’s in the best interests of the dealers, of promoters and the city of Jacksonville.”

Jacksonville Marine Association president Dick Boger confirmed to Trade Only this morning that the final contracts had been signed to hold the show at Metropolitan Park in Jacksonville.

Hill told local news outlets earlier this week that organizers were surprised when they tried to move in on Monday and found themselves locked out.

City of Jacksonville spokeswoman Marsha Oliver told Trade Only that Current Productions had not been able to reserve the original dates planned for the show — today through Sunday — because of an outstanding bill and that they’d ultimately been relinquished to another production company in November.

Oliver said the city advised Hill that it would not hold the dates until a final outstanding bill had been paid in full. After final payment was made in January “it was very clearly communicated to Mr. Hill that those dates were not available,” Oliver said.

“While we value our long-standing relationship with the Southeast US Boat Show, Current Productions had failed to make final payments to the city for their 2016 event, which did not allow them to reserve 2017 dates. For nearly a year (June 2016) the city had been in communications with Current Productions about this and offered a payment plan, alternative options and collection attempts, which resulted in a bounced check by Current Productions,” she said in a previous statement. “We have even facilitated communications with them and Danny Wimmer Presents to determine a potential solution that would support both interests. It is my understanding that these efforts have been unsuccessful.”

Hill did not want to comment except to say he was happy that a resolution had been reached and that the show will move forward.

Haskell said the show will face another hurdle next year because the 70-acre parcel around the state-owned marina has been awarded to a developer’s bid.

On Tuesday the Downtown Investment Authority selected the $500-plus million proposal by an investment group owned by Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan to develop the vacant Shipyards property along the Jacksonville riverfront near the Sports Complex, according to News4Jax.

The city-owned land is wrapped around a state-owned 90-slip marina, Boger said, which means organizers will likely need to find a new home next year.

“We don’t know when they’re going to start to bulldoze and start the project, so to say it won’t be there next year is premature,” Boger said, adding that the group won’t know when ground will be broken until this summer or fall.

The Jacksonville Marine Association, which has 52 members, including 19 dealers, is “not mentally preparing for that boat show next year to be at that location,” Boger said.

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