Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Jones House Moving OK Comes from Board

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Jones House Moving OK Comes from Board

Article excerpt

An issue that caused a rift between Mandarin history lovers who wanted a 61-year-old white house moved at Walter Jones Historic Park and those who didn't has been solved by a vote in Tallahassee.

The Florida Communities Trust Board gave unanimous permission to the city's recreation department Thursday to move the 1939 house at the historic park at 11964 Mandarin Road to make way for a $225,000 museum.

City officials said the wooden house will be moved about 150 feet eastward as soon as possible, making room for a stand-alone, 2,500-square-foot, handicapped-accessible museum and classroom designed to look like a Florida Cracker house of the late 1800s.

A nature trail, riverfront boardwalk and other amenities will also be added to the 10-acre park in time for a planned April opening.

"We had to put things into suspension until this vote was made. So our next task will be to . . . get it started," said Ann Peery, director of Jacksonville's Parks, Recreation and Entertainment Department. "We thought it was important to wait this out to have the best decision, and I believe a good decision was made."

Trust Board approval was needed because the agency helped the city buy the 10-acre park in 1993. Approval came despite arguments from four Jacksonville residents who said the move was wrong, and a memo from the chief of the Florida Historic Preservation Division that said the move would have an "adverse effect" on the park's historical integrity.

Communities trust officials said they decided Jacksonville knew best, since its Historic Preservation Commission and City Council approved the move.

"The board really decided there was a local process that had already been followed," said communities trust spokesman Ian Smith. "The board decided to support the local decision. …

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