Longtime residents of two Jacksonville neighborhoods say crime and drugs are overtaking their areas and they are preparing to take their communities back.
Hundreds are working to find ways to reduce crime, increase employment, and spur economic development.
Two events are planned for Saturday. One in Northwest Jacksonville and the other in East Jacksonville.
"Our neighborhood was so beautiful," Northwest Jacksonville resident Gadson Burgess said. "If you could see it through my eyes, it was paradise."
When Burgess and his wife look around their Northwest Jacksonville neighborhood, they see a community filled with promise and families filled with pride.
But over the years, they say the crime and unemployment have led to decline in certain areas.
"Another thing is drugs," Burgess said. "We want to train these young men and women who were on drugs, after paying their debts to society, we want them to be free and get jobs in the community and restore it really."
Burgess and his wife are just two of hundreds of people who will come together Saturday morning for what's called "Visioning Day."
They will be mobilizing and motivating residents to be a part of improving every aspect of their neighborhood.
"What we need is grocery stores and doctors," Burgess said. "We're out here on an island."
"I would like for us to have a community center for the young people to go after school," Burgess' wife Orzola said. "I know we had quite a few but I guess because of budget cuts, some of are community centers are closed.
When the Burgess' moved in more than 50 years ago, they say Northwest Jacksonville was a hub for commerce and a neighborhood known for family values.
It's their goal to restore their community to it's original state, with assistance from community groups.
"When communities take ownership, progress really begins," Paul Tutwiler with the Northwest Jacksonville Community Development Corporation said. "It's about understanding that leadership at the top at the political level should really come out with ideas, but we too, should much be a part of the solution. "We're proud to bring our citizens together to talk about that."
The Northwest Jacksonville Visioning Day will take place at the Jacksonville Job Corps Center at 4811 Payne Stewart Drive Saturday 2-5 p.m.
East Jacksonville Visioning Day will also be Saturday 9 a.m. until noon at the Matthew Gilbert Middle School gymnasium at 1424 Franklin Street.