There are no concrete plans to move to the Fairfax Street site
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A site conducted described by the Environmental Protection Agency as one of the most polluted sites in the U.S. is among the potential destinations for the Sulzbacher Center.
But even though Jacksonville City Council members said they were told no one would move to Fairfax Street, the organization’s president and CEO told News4Jax nothing could be set.
Based on the site’s reputation, a gated open field with a history of contamination, some people said Sulzbacher should reconsider moving there.
CONNECTION: The Councilor said the Sulzbacher Center is showing interest in moving to Fairfax Street
As previously reported by News4Jax, City Councilman Garrett Dennis said he was told the organization’s leadership wanted to move the homeless shelter downtown at 2610 Fairfax Street. He said he was under the impression that plans were being tracked down quickly.
Reginald Horace, who visits the Sulzbacher Center, said he heard about the potential move.
“If a site has contamination and flooding issues from the past, I honestly feel it should be removed from the equation, up to the new location,” Horace told News4Jax on Thursday.
In 2017, the EPA called the Fairfax Street Superfund site one of the most polluting in the country. It is a former medical facility. The owner filed for losses and abandoned the facility in 2010.
In 2018, soil tests showed that there were still contaminated traces of arsenic, despite cleanup efforts in recent years. According to the published report, the site left workers and residents ill.
Marvin Prier lives near Fairfax Street, telling News4Jax that he raised his family there.
“I had no problem with Sulzbacher moving there, but I was worried about the kids,” Prier said. “You got two schools there. You have kids passing by there. As long as it’s safe for those kids, I’m fine. ”
Representatives for Sulzbacher, which serves Jacksonville’s homeless, said they have long been looking for a new location – in part to avoid the flooding they have experienced in the town.
Asked why Sulzbacher is considering the site, given the history of contamination, President and CEO Cindy Funkhouser indicated that there is no guarantee that Fairfax Street will be Sulzbacher’s new home.
“We have and continue to own an animal all the time,” Funkhouser said. “I can’t go to any of those locations. Like I said, none of them are secured.”
Those who rely on the Sulzbacher Center say they would like to see it move to an area with no history of contamination and pollution.
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