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City will no longer use federal program to demolish historic homes

Reported by: Sam King
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Updated: 10/28/2013 11:44 pm
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The city of Jacksonville is no longer using funds from the Neighborhood Stabilization Program to demolish historic houses.

City officials made the decision after it was revealed numerous homes in the Springfield area were demolished without a review of the house’s historic value, which is required under federal law.

“I think that the city needs to understand that the federal government does not want it to destroy its history and use federal dollars to do that, it's quite clear,” said Gloria DeVall with Preservation SOS, a neighborhood group.

Homes considered blighted can be demolished under NSP funding, but if they are more than 50 years old, their status has to be reviewed. DeVall claims as many as 50 homes in Jacksonville may have been demolished without the review.

I think the city needs to do an audit of its practices and procedures, especially when it uses federal funds to do something as traumatic to the neighborhood as demolish a property,” she said.

DeVall suggested that the city look at preserving more of the homes, instead of tearing them down.

“Making it secure, making it weather-tight, doing landscaping, all that is part of our mothballing ordinance," DeVall said.

The city said it is doing a review of what happened. Officials said emergency demolitions will still be conducted, if required by code enforcement, but the city will not use federal funds to do so. 

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