30 a long time ago, Dana Miller was a contributor to an alarming issue on Jacksonville’s Eastside.
He was a drug supplier who aided establish the community’s reputation for crime. In the end, Miller’s bad deeds caught up with him. He was arrested in 1991, was observed guilty and sentenced to provide a necessary 10-year sentence in jail.
But that was not the end of his story.
Just after his release from jail in 2002, Miller turned his lifetime around. He has been the owner of the Male Cave barbershop on A. Phillip Randolph Boulevard due to the fact 2013.
Outside of functioning his businesses, which also include a cellular barbershop, he’s performing to assist revitalize the group as the president of the Eastside enterprise council.
″I wished to make a modify to do superior,″ Miller stated. ″Given an opportunity, people can modify, for the reason that I’m a products of that modify. All the youthful guys come into the store and say they really like me. I know exactly where they are. I’ve been exactly where they are. And they just want another person they can speak to. That produced me understand the relevance of getting again in this local community.″
However, with 40 % of the people in the neighborhood residing underneath the federal poverty line and no new commercial, industrial or retail structures built in around 4 many years, revitalizing the Eastside is substantially much too significant of a work for one particular man or woman, or even a single business.
With a aim of ending poverty in Jacksonville, nonprofit organization Carry JAX is directing its initiatives on the Eastside with the Historic Eastside Community Advancement Corp., led by the organization’s president, Suzanne Pickett.
Shad Khan, Jaguars commit in Eastside spot
With an objective to be action-primarily based, Elevate JAX landed a considerable associate on Friday. Jaguars owner Shad Khan, whose workforce has been an Eastside neighbor for the past 25 years with their workforce facility at TIAA Financial institution Subject, is committing $1 million to the group’s efforts to support revitalize the Eastside local community.
″I appreciate what Raise JAX represents, so it’s my privilege to make this donation and assist to established a course that I hope will have an speedy and lasting impact,” Khan reported. “This isn’t about slicing a examine, on the other hand. It’s about all of us building a determination of our time and methods, continued and uninterrupted, to empower our neighbors and crack the cycle of poverty. That normally takes work and demands accountability, and the Jaguars Foundation is more than completely ready to do its aspect.”
With the Jaguars in partnership with Lift JAX and the CDC, they approach to focus on five essential, shared priorities:
Food insecurity: Give year-round obtain to healthful foodstuff and nutrition training and establish a long-lasting neighborhood sector.
Parks, playgrounds and green areas: Reimagine outside areas to stimulate healthful life and enhance neighborhood wellness for all ages.
Regional lifestyle and enterprise: Rejoice the wealthy background and society of the Historic Eastside neighborhood through the assist of community businesses and functions these kinds of as the quarterly Melanin Current market and other put-building pursuits.
Nationwide sign-up of historic sites: Guidance the software of the Historic Eastside neighborhood to the Point out Historic Preservation Office environment for designation to The Nationwide Sign up of Historic Places.
Organizational and local community assist: Establish the potential of Elevate JAX and the HECDC to assure operational guidance to continue on to positively effect the Out East local community.
″I think the simplest detail in the globe to do is to get an individual to generate a test,″ Jaguars President Mark Lamping mentioned, ″if you are fortunate ample to have the ability to do that. The difficult factor to do is to truly have that verify make an effect in the local community and have that impression be outlined by the resident and not anyone from outdoors.″
Lamping recalled that the only introduction he experienced with the Eastside community was two or 3 decades back when he ventured from TIAA Bank Subject on his golfing cart.
″I never ever genuinely used any time on this aspect of the bridge,″ Lamping explained. ″We in fact had a night time game and I jumped in a golfing cart, and I was driving around the community you know and a (Jaguars formal) mentioned you are nuts heading above there. And you can see that you know, the soul of the group like so pure but the methods and possibility have just not been presented. When we sat down, we needed to know how is stuff going to get carried out.″
Not too long ago, Jaguars mentor City Meyer took a golf cart tour of the Eastside with Pickett to get a feel of the region.
Historic community of Eastside
Established in the mid-1800s, the neighborhoods of Eastside consisted of East Jacksonville, Fairfield, Oakland, Campbells’ Addition and Phoenix, in accordance to the CDC. The Eastside is the birthplace of civil legal rights activist A. Philip Randolph, businesswoman Eartha White, and Olympic gold medalist sprinter and NFL Hall of Fame wide receiver Bob Hayes, who was a star athlete at Matthew Gilbert before excelling at Florida A&M.
Harlem Renaissance creator Zora Neale Hurston used time living on the Eastside in 1914 with her brother John and his wife, Blanche.
″People try to comprehend the Eastside, but you cannot comprehend until finally you see it. I say you have to see it, which is why we give the excursions,″ Pickett explained. ″There’s no perfect reply, but there is so significantly sensitivity in the community.
″I grew up here proper in this article on Pippin Road, and I made use of to wander up and down with my sister. I also lived on Harrison Road. then we moved absent and I truly moved back and satisfied my partner listed here. I adore the neighborhood. Eastside and I have a issue for the way the persons are taken care of. When I walked in the park at Flossie Brunson, there was so much reduce glass — broken glass — in the sand. It reminded me of when I was a kid. It could have been the very same piece of glass most likely dropped there when I was 9 several years outdated. So that and seeking close to and noticing and all the other neglect. When you neglect roads and homes, you neglect persons as well.″
Priorities for revitalization
By Elevate JAX and the CDC, priorities for the Eastside incorporate stimulating the economic system and rising revenue and job prospects by obtaining workforce advancement companies in a centralized spot. A further aim is supporting the growth of the grassroots Melanin Current market. Launched in 2017 by Dawn Curling and Angie Nixon, now a condition representative, the avenue honest showcases Black-owned enterprises, arts and lifestyle, presents nutritious food options, and connects residents to methods and solutions.
There are ideas to revitalize the place with combined-income housing.
They are turning row houses created in 1904 into changeover homes for girls to be with their young children in transition immediately after serving time in prison. A neighborhood center has been established at the Word Global Heart on Spearing Avenue where no cost food items is distributed to needy people and the aged. Phrase Global Centre is amongst 49 churches inside the Eastside local community.
Identical to New Town in the Jacksonville urban core and other underserved locations in Jacksonville, the Eastside is a meals desert, with the nearest grocery keep at the Harvey’s Supermarket on North Industry Avenue close to downtown.
″I would like to see a lot more programs for the kids in the parks close to in this article,″ stated lifelong Eastside resident Antonio McCray, 42. ″Some of the flats absolutely require fixing up. We require assistance out here. Everybody does not have a dollar in their arms to enable them selves.″
Longtime Eastside resident Marvin Curtis stated he thinks it terrific the Jaguars are finally investing in the neighborhood.
″I see some very good issues going on below out East,″ Curtis stated. ″The lady (Pickett) place rubbish cans all over in all places and we fill them up to retain matters clear all around here. You know if you really don’t assist oneself, who else is likely to assistance you? But I like that the Jaguars are using an interest.
″There’s a whole ton of house that requires to be improved and we could use a fresh sector right right here so people today really don’t have to push 20 miles right here or there. The Eastside wants to arrive again like it was.″