Jesse B. Smith Memorial Plaza is a small pocket park situated across from the Florida Theatre in downtown Jacksonville. It is the home of the new sculpture Jaxoscope by artist Shasti O’Leary Soudent.
The movie theatre opened across from the park site in 1927, and after extensive restoration reopened as a performing arts center in 1983. In the early 1940’s, Guaranty Life Company of Florida established its offices in a four-story building that included the park property. After fire destroyed most of the building in May 1995, the city acquired the land and created the park, which opened in July 1996. It is named for a long-time city employee who served in the fields of economic development and planning, and was Deputy Director of the Planning and Development Department (housed in the Florida Theatre building) when he died in 1996 at age 59. His dedicated work brought a host new businesses and thousands of jobs to Jacksonville, and his positive outlook influenced all who knew him.