Mayor Appoints 3 People To Attract Sporting Events | News

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Mayor Appoints 3 People To Attract Sporting Events
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- To boost the local economy, the city is ramping up its efforts to attract and host major sporting events and activities.

To carry out this vision, Mayor Alvin Brown announced today the appointment of three individuals, including Basketball Hall of Fame honoree Artis Gilmore, who will make more than $337,000 combined in annual salaries.

Gilmore, a former Jacksonville University basketball player, will be Mayor Brown's Ambassador for Sports, Entertainment and Physical Fitness. Gilmore will be tasked with convincing decision makers that work with major sporting events to bring them to Jacksonville. His salary will be $60,000, according to a release from the mayor's office.

Another person with JU ties, current Athletic Director Alan Verlander, was chosen to be the mayor's Sports and Entertainment Director.

"The mayor has got a strong focus on sports and entertainment," Verlander said. "Now we can take his focus and the funding and make sure we're returning that money and making it a huge destination place to come."

Verlander will make $179,416 in this position, the release said.

"We're going to make sure I'm doing my job and returning that money back to the city," Verlander said.

Under Verlander's watch, JU has racked up 36 state and conference titles and raised monies to modernize athletic facilities since he started there in 2005.

The mayor's current special assistant, Tonisha Landry-Gaines, will become the Director of Special Events. She played an insturmental role in the Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast and Mayor Brown's Business Builder. Her salary will be $98,000, according to the release.

"Still want the NBA team right here," Brown said Monday. "May take eight years, 10 years, but I think with Artis Gilmore and Alan Verlander we might be cooking up something."

Brown has spoken previously regarding bringing an NBA team to Jacksonville.

Monday, he also suggested bringing NASCAR, more NCAA games, soccer, swimming and lacross to Jacksonville, as well as one day possibly hosting the Olympics.

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