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2 Jacksonville City Council Members Evaluating Options For Former Fairfax Superfund Site

Picture taken through a chain link fence showing the outside of what looks like an abandoned building in the middle of an open field. Trees and gravel in the distance.
Dan Scanlan
/
The Florida Times-Union
Photo taken in 2012, when a building at the Fairfax St. Superfund Site was still standing.

Two Jacksonville City council members held a public meeting Monday to discuss future plans for the old site of the Fairfax Wood Treaters, a former Superfund site.

The site at 2610 Fairfax Street hasn’t had a functioning business since 2010, and in 2012, the Environmental Protection Agency put it on the National Priorities List for superfund sites, since the soil was contaminated and considered dangerous. 

In late October, the EPA held a press conference to announce its completion of the site cleanup and removal from the NPL.

Now, with the city in control of the land, council members can help decide what happens to the empty plot.

The 12-acre parcel is in an area bordering Districts 8 and 9, which falls under the jurisdiction of council members Ju’Coby Pittman and Garrett Dennis. 

During the brief Monday morning meeting, Dennis said he would rather see a commercial property sprout up there, rather than anything residential, in case the area is still causing health concerns “10, 15, 20 years down the road.”

“We will be somewhat held responsible,” Dennis said, adding he would rather see a grocery store in that area.

“Whether it's a grocery store, like Walmart. It’s a food desert,” Dennis said. 

The nearest Walmart to the location is nearly nine miles away on Philips Highway in Pine Forest. West of the St. Johns River, there’s another Walmart in the Normandy area more than nine miles away. 

The two closest Aldi locations to the plot of land are similar distances away. 

Pittman said she would like to have a store there that would create jobs.

“Definitely something commercial - a grocery store, restaurant,” Pittman said. “You know, [something] that can employ, and maybe even a drug store. I don't think we have a direct store in that area.”

Both council members said they would meet with the city’s Office of Economic Development to evaluate the best options for the land. They will also meet with the Office of General Counsel to see how the land is currently zoned. 

Sky Lebron can be reached at slebron@wjct.org, 904-358-6319 or on Twitter at @SkylerLebron.

Former WJCT News reporter