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  • 4 weeks later...

I've never been in a Starbucks :o

Probably never will

By Jennifer Brice

First Coast News

JACKSONVILLE, FL -- A well known coffee shop could be coming to a part of town that's become synonymous with revitalization.

If you've passed though 8th and Pearl in Springfield, you may have noticed a few things missing. "We demolished 16 buildings," says developer Craig Van Horn. The area is already boasting new trees and some freshly paved roads.

After seven years of cutting through the red tape, Van Horn got the green light to bring a mix of apartments, shopping and restaurants to the 8th Street area. He calls it "the old Main Street feel. Commercial on the bottom, apartments above."

Van Horn's company, Symbiosis Investments is courting big names to come into the commercial portion of the project. "Is a Starbucks coming?" Van Horn echoes. "It's a no-brainer for them. You've got Shands down the street and the courthouse Downtown." Van Horn is currently talking with the coffee shop empire about the prospects of opening up shop in Springfield.

Van Horn hopes a mix of residential and retail will welcome people out of their cars, get them "to walk around...It creates energy."

With the city already approving the conceptual plans for the $10 million dollars project, the next step is approval on construction blueprints. Van Horn hopes to start construction this Spring and finish a year later.

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Internally, the minor conflict with the I.M. Sulzbacher Center over the Jewish Center (aka Job Corps) building continues. The Job Corps has relocated to its new facility but the federal government still owns the building. Per policy, homeless groups would get first dibs on such a structure when the Federal Government hands it back over to the community; however, this building is unique and within the boundaries of a National Historic District and thus protected by the Parks Dept. Its use as a homeless shelter conflicts with the historic use of the building and the historic character of the area.

The neighborhood would rather see a mixed business/community (local interest museum, historical library, etc..) use defined for the buildings. It may sound odd, but I would like to see a Buddhist monestary there (they're quiet, unobtrusive, and the orange robes look really cool en masse) since it is already set up with dormatories, a commercial kitchen, etc...

On an up note, Springfield Park -- oops, Klutho Park, is much more inviting these days.

Starbucks -- what other neighborhood doesn't have one? I would rather have some Bad Ass coffee on Main St.

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I hope the Job Cops doesn't become a homeless shelter! I know there's a bad homeless situation, but building a shelter in that neighborhood is like the Kiss of Death.

But I do like the sound (and smell) of a Starbucks coming to 8th and Pearl. I know it may seem a little "yuppie", but who cares! I think this mix-use project could be the final kick to propel that area in to major revitalization. It's pretty big, and the surrounding areas are already getting a facelift.

I really should check out all that's going on in Springfield, so I can know what I'm talking about, lol.

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Hopefully the Jewish Center won't be converted into a Homeless shelter. Anything, but a homeless shelter. If anything, we need to be finding new locations for the homeless, away from downtown and the chain of parks lining Hogans Creek. The old industrial areas, just west of I-95 truss bridge may be a good spot for relocating most of the homless services, since most of the older warehouses are now current vacant and the general location is still centralized.

As far as Starbucks is concerned, I'd rather see a Bad Ass Coffee or something different as well, but at this point any retail that 8th & Pearl project attracts to the community is a blessing in my eyes.

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I guess I see what you all mean about the media using the Springfield name for crimes north of the river. I actually expected to read about a crime in Klutho or Confederate Park. But this murder happened at Brentwood Park, a few blocks north of Martin Luther King Parkway.


Construction workers discover body


The Times-Union

Jacksonville construction workers found the body of a homicide victim in a Springfield park this morning.

They made the discover shortly before 7:30 a.m. when they arrived to do renovations to Brentwood Park's grandstands, Lt. Tom Hackney said.

Detectives were canvassing the neighborhood at 25th Street West and Boulevard Street as they worked to identify the victim, a man of unknown age.

Information about the cause of death was not released.

This story can be found on Jacksonville.com at http://www.jacksonville.com/tu-online/stor...et_victim.shtml.

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Kudos to First Coast News, they used Northside and Brentwood Park in their report.

Detectives Investigating Body Found in Brentwood Park

12/14/2004 noon report

By First Coast News Staff

JACKSONVILLE, FL -- Jacksonville homicide detectives are trying to figure out how a body ended up in a Northside park. Officials say workers renovating the stage at Brentwood Park found the body of an African American male this morning and they do suspect foul play was involved.

The victim's name has not been released yet.

If you have any information about this crime, call our partner First Coast Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS. You will remain anonymous and you could be eligible for a cash reward.

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From today's daily Record...

Springfield will soon have a new restaurant. Taqueria, a casual restaurant serving Mexican style cuisine, should be opening in February, says Symbiosis Investments president Craig Van Horn. Taqueria will be located at 1855 Main Street, right across the street from one of Van Horn

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Next step: 8th and Pearl

Developer Craig Van Horn with architectural renderings of a new three-block development to be built at the intersection of 8th and Pearl streets in Springfield.

by Kent Jennings Brockwell

Staff Writer

For more than seven years, land developer Craig Van Horn has been trying to develop an impoverished three-block area at the intersection of 8th and Pearl streets in Springfield into a thriving neighborhood.

Now that major infrastructure work on 8th St. is finished, Van Horn, president of Symbiosis Investments, LLC, said he is ready to start building and marketing his new pedestrian friendly, mixed-use Springfield neighborhood.

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According to the SPAR website (that's Springfield Preservation & Restoration), the Florida DOT has alloted 2.5 mm to the Main Street streetscaping project. Together with the city's funds, that should complete the work through 12th Street. Currently the streetscaping ends at 4th Street.

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The Florida Department of Transportation has just delivered a very special Christmas present to Springfield - $2,459,000 to complete Main Street!

This FDOT funding coupled with that of the City is believed to be enough to complete the Main Street Roadway Improvements and Beautification project through 12th Street!

The funding will be available after July 1, 2005. SPAR Council will continue to work the City and FDOT to expiate the Main Street

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  • 4 weeks later...

More money for Main Street

by J. Brooks Terry

Staff Writer

Following months of uncertainty, the City is now preparing to make good on its promise to overhaul eight more blocks of North Main Street.

A Request for Proposals to do the road work will likely be issued later this year and, barring complications, a contractor could get started by mid-Summer.

Public Works spokesperson Marci Cook told the Springfield Preservation and Revitalization Council last week that the more than $7 million now earmarked for the project may insure the road will be upgraded as originally planned three years ago.

The majority of the project

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Well, if the first 4 blocks are any indication, the improvements are going to take a heck of a long time, even with funding secured.

However, I think it's safe to say that Sprinfield reached it's turning point sometime within the past few years. The west side of Main street is just a breath away from being as nice riverside (well, maybe several breaths, but it's getting close) and even the east side is just insanely nicer than even 5 years ago. At the moment I'm really cursing my youth, as I won't have the time and energy to dive into the real estate market for the next 3 years, by then I'm sure Springfield prices will have gone up another 50-100% and be totally out of my reach.

I think the only big things left to "do" in Springfield are, of course, a massive rennovation to Klutho/Confederate Park, plus multistory commercial construction along main street itself.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Springfield spotlights Florida filmmakers

Springfield’s latest effort to expand its growing arts community is a film festival to highlight new cinema created by Florida filmmakers.

The Springfield Film Festival will launch with an opening gala March 17 at the 9th & Main Gallery. Attendees will get a taste of the new films coming up in the festival with film screenings. Live music, dance and theater performances as well as cocktails and a wine-tasting will round out the gala. Cocktails and wine tasting begin at 6 p.m. and the screenings begin at 8 p.m.

Beginning March 24, the films showcased at the gala will be shown every Thursday at 9th & Main.

Galas are planned for May 12 and July 14 to present a new host of films in the festival for the coming weeks. Tickets to the gala or to the screenings are $10 each. Part of the proceeds from the Springfield Film Festival will benefit The Bridge of Northeast Jacksonville.

Ingar Brunnett, director of programming for the festival, said that many filmmakers in Jacksonville and throughout the state have been approached about the festival.

“This will be a great avenue for them,” said Brunnett, who also owns of Melt Into Arts, a cultural planning company.

At the end of the festival, patrons can vote on their favorite films. Cash prizes will be awarded to filmmakers in these categories: Documentary, Short, Experimental and Student films. Winners will receive $2,500 for first place, $1,500 for second place, $500 for third place and $400 for the Best Student Film.

The Springfield Film Festival will conclude in September with a Red Carpet Audience Awards Gala.

Brunnett said that another film festival will be planned for 2006.

— Amy Limbert


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