What can you do?

Supporters and opponents wait for public comment at the February 2020 meeting

It’s imperative that those seeking preservation continue the pressure. Continue emailing and calling the Historic Preservation Commission and Jacksonville City Council members making the case that the building fulfills the criteria designated in the policy for protection. If possible, attend the HPC and City Council meetings where the building’s fate will be decided and make the case in person.

The strongest arguments will be firmly rooted in the policy, and the fact that the building passes at least six of the seven criteria. Preserving the Sunday school building not only protects Jacksonville’s history and building stock, it makes economical sense as well. Nearby, the developer of the 19-story Independent Life Building is pushing for the landmarking of their structure to open the door to potential tax credits and incentives associated with the restoration of historic structures. Overall, there are now more than 500 apartment units, 127 hotel rooms, street retail and dining, and a 20,000 square foot grocery store now in the works in long vacant buildings within one block of the First Baptist site. As our neighbors in St. Augustine, Savannah and Charleston have already proven, preservation and adaptive reuse can serve as an economically beneficial revitalization tool if we’re willing to allow it to happen.

Contacts for members of the Historic Preservation Commission, City Council, and Downtown Investment Authority are below.

Historic Preservation Commission

Commission contacts: Phone: (904) 255-7800 Email: historicpreservation@coj.net

City Planner Supervisor: Christian Popoli Phone (904) 255-7859 Email: CPopoli@coj.net

Downtown Investment Authority

CEO: Lori Boyer Phone: (904) 255-5301 Email: boyerl@coj.net

Mayor Lenny Curry Phone: (904) 255-5000 Email: MayorLennyCurry@coj.net

District Council Members

District 1: Joyce Morgan Phone: (904) 255-5201 Email: JoyceMorgan@coj.net

District 2: Al Ferraro Phone: (904) 255-5202 Email: Ferraro@coj.net

District 3: Aaron L. Bowman Phone: (904) 255-5203 Email: ABowman@coj.net

District 4: Scott Wilson Phone: (904) 255-5204 Email: SWilson@coj.net

District 5: LeAnna Cumber Phone: (904) 255-5205 Email: LCumber@coj.net

District 6: Michael Boylan Phone: (904) 255-5206 Email: MBoylan@coj.net

District 7: Reggie Gaffney Phone: (904) 255-5207 Email: RGaffney@coj.net

District 8: Ju’Coby Pittman Phone: (904) 255-5208 Email: JPittman@coj.net

District 9: Garrett L. Dennis Phone: (904) 255-5209 Email: GarrettD@coj.net

District 10: Brenda Priestly Jackson Phone: (904) 255-5210 Email: BPJackson@coj.net

District 11: Danny Becton Phone: (904) 255-5211 Email: DBecton@coj.net

District 12: Randy White Phone: (904) 255-5212 Email: RandyWhite@coj.net

District 13: Rory Diamond Phone: (904) 255-5213 Email: RDiamond@coj.net

District 14: Randy DeFoor Phone: (904) 255-5214 Email: RDefoor@coj.net

At-Large Council Members

Group 1: Terrance Freeman Phone: (904) 255-5215 Email: TFreeman@coj.net

Group 2: Ronald B. Salem Phone: (904) 255-5216 Email: RSalem@coj.net

Group 3: Tommy Hazouri Phone: (904) 255-5217 Email: THazouri@coj.net

Group 4: Matt Carlucci Phone: (904) 255-5218 Email: MCarlucci@coj.net

Group 5: Samuel Newby Phone: (904) 255-5219 Email: SNewby@coj.net


Editorial by Bill Delaney and Ennis Davis, AICP. Contact Bill at wdelaney@moderncities.com and Ennis at edavis@moderncities.com.