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Congressman Al Lawson

Representing the 5th District of Florida

Action News Jax: Rep. Al Lawson visits Eureka Gardens as improvements are made to Jacksonville housing complex

February 21, 2017
In The News

A Jacksonville public housing complex that's been under scrutiny for deplorable living conditions is now under new management.

Action News Jax first told you about Eureka Gardens in 2015 when it was cited by the city and inspected by the federal government, which led to visits from Florida Senators Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio.

Tenants previously showed Action News Jax the issues at the complex, including mold, unsafe stairs and gas leaks.

People we spoke with on Monday say the situation is better, but not perfect. That's something local leaders are hoping to fix

Barbara Eberhart has lived at Eureka Gardens for three and a half years.

"A couple of weeks ago, they found a guy with an Uzi out here. I was like ‘What? An Uzi out here?’" Eberhart said.

But changes are taking place at Eureka Gardens: A new playground, new mulch, and new siding and on some units.

“So, so far, so good, yes," Eberhart said.

Newly-elected U.S. Rep. Al Lawson, D-Fla., took a walking tour of Eureka Gardens on Monday with members of Millennia.

Millennia is a company based in Cleveland that recently signed a contract with Global Ministries Foundation to buy the property. Over the past year, GMF was heavily criticized nationally for the poor conditions at its complexes.

Now, some units at Eureka Gardens have new appliances, bathrooms and paint jobs.

"With a new administration, we'll meet with the president to try to make sure we put more money into housing and at the same time improve the condition people are living in," Lawson said.

Jeff Crossman of Millennia said the property is scheduled for an inspection by the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department. Last year, Eureka Gardens scored a 62, a passing score at that time. Their goal now is much higher.

"What you see here today is a tip of the iceberg. We plan to transform this property," said Crossman.

Eberhart said she's encouraged at what she's seeing so far.

Millennia is managing the property for now and will take over ownership at the end of the year.