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Mold, repairs may affect plan for new playground at Eureka Gardens

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – All the complaints over the mold and substandard repairs at the Eureka Gardens Apartments could impact the facility's new playground.

The fundraiser for the new playground went very well. They wanted to raise $75,000 and ended up raising around $95,000, which means the playground would be even bigger and better than planned. But the allegations of substandard living has the minister in charge of the money concerned.

Mark Griffin is the pastor at Wayman Ministries, which is across the street from Eureka Gardens. He does a lot of outreach for the residents of the complex. He's been out of town at a church conference in Orlando but rushed back to Jacksonville after his phone was flooded with calls about substandard repairs at Eureka Gardens following News4Jax stories about the disrepair.

"This morning my phone has been ringing off the hook from tenants who are calling to say maintenance personnel are knocking on their doors, almost barging in, painting over mold, calking over mold, bleaching over mold, and I'm really concerned about the way they're handling this problem," said Griffin.

There are concerns about repair crews painting over mold, which if proved accurate, could be a health risk. Griffin said they're currently shopping for contractors to build the playground and want to have it completed by the start of Christmas break in December, but the current problems could push the date back.

"I don't know what's going to happen with this mold situation. We plan to move forward, but I don't know how pervasive this problem is," Griffin said.

There's another reverend involved in the story, the one whose ministry owns Eureka Gardens and is defending the effort to clean up problems in the complex. The Reverend Richard Hamlet runs Global Ministries Foundation based in Tennessee. He said the repair work isn't substandard and that they're painting over mildew, not mold, which he said if they find they'll properly deal with.

"We have nothing to hide. We abide by the statutes, the HUD regulations. We do things the best we can," Hamlet said. "I do know what we're called to do. I have experience and a great team in place."

No plans have been made to delay construction of the playground, which Wayman Ministries, who's in charge of the project, hopes will be complete by Dec. 11.


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