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Northwest Jacksonville

Golfair EstatesTen neighborhoods comprise the geography of Northwest Jacksonville's EPIC Communities Initiative. These 10 neighborhoods are: Old Floridale, Hendersonville, Grand Park, Planet Watch, 29th and Chase Streets, Magnolia Gardens, Durkeevilee, Washington Heights, Joe James and Simon Johnson.

Afer the Civil War, Peter Jones, mayor of Jacksonville during much of the 1870's, acquired property around Moncrief Springs, located off Moncreif Road. His intent was to develop a resort for the many tourists visiting Jacksonville in the late 1800's.

Legend has it that the spring was named after French pawnbroker, Eugene Moncrief, who had accumulated substantail wealth in the form of jewelry and precious gems. According to the legend, Moncreif buried nine chests of his "loot" near the springs in 1793. He removed one of the chests, but was later murderd by Indians before recovering the remaining eight chests.

The resort developed by Petere Jones included a baseball field, bathouses, a restaurant, bowling alley, dancing  pavillion and a mile-long racetrack. American Poet, Sidney Lanier described the resort during his visit to Jacksonville in 1874. As the resort and Jacksonville grew, various housing opportunties were created to service the city's hotels and burgeoning industries.

Once Henry Flagler succeeded in building a railroad bridge across the St. John's River, Jacksonville's position as a tourist destination began to fade, but  it's industrial base continued to grow. During this time, Northwest Jacksonville experienced a combination of neighborhoods comprised of workers in the local industrial plants and public housing projects built by the Federal government during the Great Depression.

With the introduction of desegregation and consolidation, many of these neighborhoods experienced declining populations of home ownesr and increased numbers of renters and absentee landlords, creating a spiral of decline for these urban neighborhoods.

Some of Northwest Jacksonville's Most famous residents include:

Edward Waters College Administration BuildingEartha Mary Magdeline White: One of Jacksonville's  most  important ad influential Philanthropists

James Weldon Johnson: A college professor, attorney, diplomat, songwriter and internationally know civil rights activist. He wrote the lyrics for "Lift Every Voice and Sing."

Abraham Lincoln Lewis: Florida's first African American millionaire, founder of the Afro-American Life Insurance Company, developer and philanthropist

James Edward Hutchins: A leading African American architect an builder.
 

 Northwest Jacksonville's EPIC PROCESS

“Bottom-Up” Concept

MLK Day of ServicePeople who know the most and care the most about their neighborhoods are at the heart of EPIC. The approach is a departure from traditional urban redevelopment models. Instead of asking residents to embrace change initiated by outside sources who “know their needs better than they do,” EPIC pivots on locally generated solutions. In Northwest Jacksonville, Northwest Jacksonville Community Development Corporation was chosen as the facilitating (“convening”) agency to help residents implement EPIC — starting with identifying and prioritizing their needs.

Defining Priorities

From May to September of 2012, program facilitators gathered feedbackKipp from hundreds of neighborhood residents, business owners and workers in Northwest Jacksonville. They met with them through individual interviews, focus groups and listening tours. Historical research was conducted to provide context. On September 29, 2012, a report on the listening sessions was shared with residents. At the same meeting, participants were invited to create a vision for their neighborhood; develop goals, strategies and action plans with key measures of progress; and identify a list of potential community partners. Following this “visioning” day, neighborhood leaders conducted a series of community forums to refine the recommendations, develop a unified vision, create goals, objectives, strategies and action plans with measurable outcomes. This work is summarized in the Quality of Life Plan, and focuses on the following five goals:

  • Easy to Be Healthy
  • Pride in Our Neighborhood
  • Family Wealth for Generations
  • United and Safe
  • Best Students and Schools

Between 2012 and 2015 many partners helped the residents of Northwest Jacksonville realize remarkable progress towards their goals and objectives. Please review their accomplishments in the Northwest Jacksonville Progress Report.