Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

City Pledging 2-Week Fix for Townhomes' Power; Project to Aid Residents near Collapsed Street Expected to Cost under $200,000

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

City Pledging 2-Week Fix for Townhomes' Power; Project to Aid Residents near Collapsed Street Expected to Cost under $200,000

Article excerpt

Byline: Steve Patterson

Power lines serving townhomes around a collapsed section of Liberty Street in downtown Jacksonville will be repaired at city expense within 14 days, city officials said Thursday.

The city expects to spend less than $200,000 on permanent work to restore electricity to the Riverwalk Townhomes at the Plaza, according to David DeCamp, a spokesman for the mayor.

That announcement followed a day when residents urged the city to commit to covering some expenses, saying they could afford to restore their lights temporarily or make permanent repairs - but not both.

"We could either put the permanent solution in place or we could run temporary power for two months, and then the lights go out," Andrew Beaudoin, principal for Plaza Property Services LLC, the company that manages the property, said earlier.

The townhomes' governing board had scheduled a meeting Thursday night to consider dropping plans to power the complex with diesel-fueled generators as a stopgap measure.

Residents have been living in hotel rooms since their homes went dark Feb. 1 because a section of the street collapsed into the St. Johns River, ripping out electrical conduit that fed power to the townhomes.

The homes are along a block of roadway built over the river in the 1960s.

Timelines for repairs had stretched into months, and the prospect of homes being usable in February was welcomed, but cautiously.

"It's a big, big development. ... I'm managing my expectations," said Dawn Emerick, whose family rents a townhome. They had talked about moving, and Emerick said the new repair schedule could cause them to rethink that.

"We were hearing all kinds of numbers. Six months. ... Now we have a solution that's going to have it in two weeks. And so I just need some assurance it's actually going to be two weeks," Emerick said. …

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