Perhaps in some future decade it will seem odd that a movie
theater could be such a boon to all things commercial and
social. But it's happening in northern Clay County.
The area has been a quiet bedroom community for so many years.
And let's face it, many of those who attended Wednesday night's
grand opening of the AMC Orange Park 24 said, in recent years
there still hasn't been a lot to do.
The mall has a lot to offer but . . .
The AMC 24 is not just a movie theater. It's a place that makes
you feel welcome, thanks to cushy high-backed chairs, stadium
seating and gigantic screens, as well as such amenities as a
guest services desk and hospitable employees, grand opening
About 1,200 people showed up Wednesday to greet the new
theater. They entered the megaplex -- some in suits and gowns,
others in jeans -- via red carpet lined by Navy sailors in dress
whites. There was live music and chicken marsala and other
delicacies. Proceeds from the $20 tickets will benefit the Clay
County Chamber of Commerce and the Ronald McDonald House in
"There's good growth, and there's bad growth. This is good
growth," said Clay County Commissioner Patrick McGovern. "This
adds to the sales tax revenue but doesn't really add to the
traffic problems. Our crowded traffic on Blanding Boulevard goes
north in the morning and south in the evening. Movie traffic
won't add to that."
McGovern and others agreed the megaplex, which seats about
4,100, will be an ideal complement to the adjacent Orange Park
Mall, which alone generates 60 percent of Clay County's sales
tax revenues. The mall brings the people in to shop; the
megaplex keeps them there with entertainment.
"For so long in Orange Park, there's really been nothing to
do," said resident Janet Cox, 22. "I never even liked going to
regular movie theaters. My back would start killing me in those
"But this is so comfortable, and there are so many choices.
It's like you're doing more than just going to the movies.
Before, I'd always go to the Beaches for fun. That's a long way.
Now I can stay here."
The location, at Blanding Boulevard and Wells Road next to the
mall, is a prime hot spot, said Rolando Rodriguez, senior vice
president of AMC's south division. AMC's former five-theater
complex there excelled, he said Wednesday. That's why Orange
Park was selected over the Regency and the Avenues malls, which
he said would undoubtedly be future sites for AMC 24-plex