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Building EPIC Communities to boost Historic Eastside/Springfield and Northwest Jacksonville communities

11:56 PM, Jan 10, 2013   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A community redevelopment plan has been unveiled for the Historic Eastside/Springfield and Northwest Jacksonville neighborhoods that has the residents fingerprints all over it.

A packed house heard the plan at Everbank Field Thursday evening for the kickoff of Building EPIC Communties.

The Local Initiatives Support Corporation, known as LISC, with the help of Operation Hope, and the Northwest Jacksonville Community Development Corporation, has spent the last year doing one-on-one interviews with neighborhood residents and group meetings to determine what residents want to see in their communities.

Each community has come up with a quality of life plan for their area.

The goal is for better neighborhoods and housing, more businesses and jobs, good schools, grocery stores and safe streets.

LISC will invest $20 million into these areas to bring improvements and bring more private investment.

Not all of it costs money.

"Some of it takes money, some of it doesn't," says Pat Tutwiler of the Northwest Jacksonville Community Development Corporatin.

"It takes a commitment from the community to drive the chain. We certainly have support from the greater community to build better schools, better community centers, but also better parenting and involving the community in changing . We are excited that we have a good road map for that to happen."

Gadson and Orzola Burgess have lived in the Magnolia Gardens neighborhood for 58 years and are leaders in their community, but they have seen their community regress. They hope this effort revitalizes their area of town.

"We are hoping that we can renew a lot of hopes that we have , building community centers, improving infrastructure, grocery stores in the area, restaurants. That's what we are hoping," said Gadson Burgess. 

Jaguars President Mark Lamping was a keynote speaker at the kickoff. The team has already worked with LISC to revitalize 8 playgrounds and parks in these neighborhoods. Lamping and the Jaguars are big supporters of building EPIC communities.

"So many times plans are made and they go up on a shelf, they gather dust and nothing ever happens. But we think this is different," said Lamping.

Wells Fargo announced a $275,000 donation to support the program. The city is planning to give $1.1 million in grants to fund organizations that can help promote healthy, stable communities.

 

 

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