• Neighbors: Vacant Best Bet in St. Johns County is an 'eyesore,' attracts vandalism

    By: Ben Becker , Action News Jax


    People in St. Johns County say a vacant poker room is an eyesore that attracts vandalism from teenagers in the area. 

    The former Best Bet poker room at Race Track Road and U.S. 1 has been vacant since 2012.

    Three teenagers were arrested Saturday after they broke into the building and spray-painted graffiti on the walls and broke glass over the weekend. 

    Melanie Claiborne lives in the area and said the building is an eyesore for the Cypress Trace development that sits right behind it.

    "It causes trouble from teenagers," Claiborne said. 

    The Sheriff's Office said four teens were warned against  trespassing last week, and last year, there were four reports of burglaries.

    In 2015, a small fire broke out on the second floor and in 2013 a man forced two doors open to get in, took numerous DVRs, big screen TVs, and an antique desk.

    Action News Jax Ben Becker reached out to District 1 Commissioner Jimmy Johns about how the vacant building impacts the desirability of St. John's County.

    He did not want to comment saying it's an issue for the Sheriff's Office and property owner.

    Becker also spoke to a source who says the land and buildings are quietly being shopped around for $25 million for commercial and possible residential development.

    Claiborne has her own ideas for the property.

    "A YMCA or a gym, to make use of that space that is being wasted," she said.

    Best Bet did not return Action News Jax's call about the break-ins and the future of the property.

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