JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Jacksonville is growing with its new initiative aimed at improving and revitalizing the oldest neighborhoods in the city.
“This is a diamond in the rough, if you will, for a neighborhood,” commented Jane Sutton, who moved into her home off Bayshore Boulevard three and half years ago. The neighborhood needed some improvements. “There’s a lot of folks in the neighborhood who have lived here a long time and they want to see their neighborhood kept well. And they deserve that.”
Sutton’s neighborhood joined Jacksonville’s Livable Neighborhoods initiative. The new program encourages residents to work with the city to improve neighborhoods.
“Bringing them back to life, improving them, working with citizens to identify issues that are going on, and also working with citizens on what they can do to help improve their neighborhoods,” explained Carmella George, Jacksonville Community Programs Coordinator.
“From a citywide perspective, we have a lot of new construction going on but the majority of the city is still our original city in some of the more older and established neighborhoods,” explained Lillie Gray, Jacksonville Community Development Administrator. “We’re here to protect those neighborhoods, not at the sacrifice of the new construction. We appreciate all of what’s here in Jacksonville and they all add value.”
Bayshore Estates and Bell Fork Homes are the two pilot neighborhoods. The city also installed a speed limit monitor to remind drivers to slow down.
George said the city is already looking at working with other neighborhoods in the city.
The city is in the process of establishing a Neighborhood Leadership Academy. It will teach residents how to work together as a community and understand city policies.wo pilot neighborhood organizations, Bayshore Estates and Bell Fork Homes, joined the initiative.
The city pays for the improvements through a combination of grants and taxpayer dollars.