Arlington Group Revived Historic Preservation Goals Back on Line

By Gilmore, Timothy Allen | The Florida Times Union, April 14, 1999 | Go to article overview

Arlington Group Revived Historic Preservation Goals Back on Line


Gilmore, Timothy Allen, The Florida Times Union


An Arlington historic association inactive for more than a year has regrouped and says it hopes to becomeas visible as associations for other neighborhoods.

Old Arlington Inc. was dormant for more than a year because its main volunteer changed jobs.

"I started a new job and found myself working nights and weekends a lot more than I had thought," said Melanie Cross, founder and former president.

In early March, the Greater Arlington Civic Council held a charette -- a kind of neighborhood visioning session -- and Cross's neighbor, Ann Burt, became excited about some of the things Old Arlington had initiated but left unfinished.

"There are some good plans, but we needed a body to make the plans happen. So it was decided that Old Arlington should be reactivated," Burt said.

One such plan was the implementation of $300,000 worth of grants awarded to Old Arlington for ISTEA, the Intermodal Surface Transportation Enhancement Act.

ISTEA is a series of roadway improvements for University Boulevard including a streetscaped median for a portion of the street and historic light fixtures like those on streets downtown, Cross said.

That project should come to fruition in a few years.

"The preliminary design phase should be completed in 2001, and the actual work in 2002," Burt said.

Burt and Cross said the money is coming from matching grants from the city and the state.

One of the association's main themes will be letting people know there is, indeed, an older Arlington with the ambience usually associated with historic neighborhoods, Burt said.

"We want to get the word out about what we have," Burt said. "Riverside has RAP [Riverside Avondale Preservation] and Springfield has SPAR [Springfield Preservation and Restoration]. We're here, too."

Whatever new goals Old Arlington sets for itself, the group will be crucial to the area's success, said Emily Lisska, president of the Jacksonville Historic Society.

"Neighborhood and community societies are crucial to the mission of preservation," she said. "Neighborhood groups understand their neighborhoods' issues."

Some people in Arlington aren't even aware the area is old enough to qualify for historic programs and registrations.

"We're young in the historic neighborhood sense, but a lot of Arlington qualifies for historic status, and people don't realize it," said Steve Matchett, one of the Old Arlington founders. …

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