Housing Lost, Trust Torn Down
Weathersbee, Tonyaa, The Florida Times Union
The city has lost more than just $8 million because of its
failure to find enough places to build public housing to replace
It has lost another bit of trust.
A loss that, ironically, comes at a time when efforts are being
stepped up to build trust between poorer residents and City
"Well, I'm not the kind of person to say `I told you so,' "
said City Councilman Warren Jones. In 1989, Jones warned that
the city would have problems finding enough neighborhoods
throughout the city to accept new public housing if it
demolished the 47-year-old complex on the northwest edge of
"But what happened to the promises of government leaders?
People are still looking for public housing. There used to be a
time where if your home burned down, they could find a place for
you in public housing. Now, they can't do that. . . . Certainly,
when you look at all of that, it's hard to find a reason to
Jones' frustrations come on the heels of a decision three weeks
ago by the Jacksonville Housing Authority to scrap plans to
build a 60-unit complex on the former site of a stock car
racetrack off Lenox Avenue on the Westside.
Officials said persistent concerns about the environmental
safety of the site prompted their decision. Area residents who
opposed the complex said they had the same concerns. But that
explanation is tough to buy, given the fact that in 1994, one
Hillcrest resident said during a public hearing that if the
apartments were built nearby, his first action would be "to buy
"The problem is what it has always been with public housing: No
one wants it," Jones said.
Now, as Mayor John Delaney's initiatives to help people in
three of the city's most neglected neighborhoods begin to take
off, about 1,400 people are languishing on waiting lists for
public housing. …