Last year, two homes were demolished in the historic Springfield neighborhood of Jacksonville, deemed “emergencies” and were torn down for public safety. One house, the city’s Historic Planning Commission had approved a request from Preservation SOS, a local Preservation group, to seek to shore up the home, rather than see it destroyed. The city tore it down anyways.
Months later, Preservation SOS accused the city of illegally demolishing the homes, claiming a Section 106 review was not done. The city admitted to misusing stimulus funds on the demolition of the two homes and would reimburse the funds, though Preservation SOS officials believe that the same has happened to 8 other homes in the Springfield area- and as many as 50 houses throughout the city.
After viewing some of the photos and videos of the demolition, some residents questioned if the demolitions were done properly. The homes were set up for “wet demolitions”, where heavy amounts of water are used to prevent dust and other toxic materials from getting airborne. Usually, a fire hose or a truck is used, but evidence shows that a simple garden hose was used.
After an investigation, the city admitted to not following regulation and that there was a “communication breakdown” between Environmental Quality and Municipal Code. Now a question remains, how do they plan on “fixing” this?