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The Jaxson: DIA Proposal Could Save Downtown's Historic Buildings

backhoe sits atop large sand pile in front of crumbling building
The Jaxson
A building is demolished in Downtown Jacksonville in 2009.

The Jacksonville City Council is expected to be asked soon to approve a plan by the Downtown Investment Authority that’s meant to save historic buildings from the wrecking ball.

As The Jaxson’s Ennis Davis explains in this remote edition of The Jaxson on WJCT, the proposed changes to Jacksonville’s Historic Preservation Trust Fund could get rid of three main barriers that currently keep developers from seeing historic preservation as a viable option:

  1. Funding: More incentives for developers who reuse existing buildings and more funding help to bring older buildings up to code
  2. Historic designation: An easier time getting buildings designated as local landmarks, giving them protected status
  3. Cutting red tape: A simplified process to apply for preservation trust fund money. The trust fund itself is a deterrent to reuse projects currently, Davis said.

Davis said he’s optimistic the changes will be “transformational” for Downtown and that downtown areas across the country that have seen major revitalization over the past 20 years have benefitted from similar public investments and deregulation.

Read more about the DIA's proposal as originally covered on The Jaxson.

Jessica Palombo supervises local news gathering and production, podcasts and web editorial content for WJCT News, ADAPT and Jacksonville Today. She is an award-winning writer and journalist with bylines including NPR, Experience Magazine, and The Gainesville Sun. She has a master’s degree in broadcast and digital journalism from Syracuse University and is an alumna of the University of Florida. A nearly lifelong resident of Jacksonville, she considers herself lucky to be raising her own children in her hometown. Follow Jessica Palombo on Twitter: @JaxJessicaP