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Green Cove Springs residents unite to save historic Rivers House

City council wrestles with ways to pay for repairs

By Kyla Woodard For Clay Today
Posted 7/13/23

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – Residents urged the council to keep the city’s history alive at Tuesday’s meeting.

The urgency followed a discussion regarding the possible refurbishment of the historic …

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Green Cove Springs residents unite to save historic Rivers House

City council wrestles with ways to pay for repairs


Posted

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – Residents urged the council to keep the city’s history alive at Tuesday’s meeting.

The urgency followed a discussion regarding the possible refurbishment of the historic River Park House.

The house is said to have been built back in 1900 and remains a staple in the Green Cove Springs community. During the meeting, citizens brought up the building’s importance and the necessity to preserve its history. However, the building became the subject of many code enforcement violations three years ago.

Development Services Director Michael Daniels said that because of those noted violations, the city purchased the property to decide what to do with it at the time.

“As a result, they had our advisory board look at it. They came up with a number of uses that they wanted to see on the property. We were moving forward on that, and then our public works department came in and determined we had to remove the lead-based paint on the property,” Daniels said.

Daniels furthered it was clear that there were problems with the building, leading to a structural evaluation. According to the report, the structural assessment found many issues such as various hairline-width cracks in the corners of door and window openings, moisture damage and deteriorated floor beams.

Daniels said in speaking with general contractors, it was important to make the council aware that there were significant costs that could come with making the necessary replacements to uphold the property.

“There is a lot of emphasis to try to save the building. So, at the same time, trying to balance saving the building with the cost it may come with,” Daniels said.

Council members voiced their concerns with the amount of money the potential repairs could cost the residents, and toggled with the idea of possibly tearing the building down.

This was much to the citizen’s dismay, as one resident even remarked that there was seemingly nothing wrong with the building and urged the city to leave it alone. Daniels said he understands the concerns and insisted that the goal is to come up with the best solution for the city. And even if the council decides to go through with the repairs, he noted that the next step would be finding the funds to do so.

“We have to consider … the value and the history, as was mentioned tonight, of preserving the Rivers House with the practical elements as to the costs associated with it, the obstacles associated with actually preserving it. And, a lot of that comes into nailing down some of the unknowns that we still don’t have right now,” Daniels said.