JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The latest U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development inspection of the troubled Eureka Gardens apartment complex has been delayed a month, News4Jax has learned.
The inspection of the complex, which has been plagued by critical city code violations, was originally scheduled for Friday.
Contractors showed up at the complex Thursday to make improvements to the crumbling stairwells and patch walls.
News4Jax has been investigating the deplorable living conditions at the complex for months, and residents said the fixes are long overdue.
“I’m shocked, because I’m like OK, they haven’t started on none, that’s the first set of stairs and those people, they’ve got certified on their trucks, so we have real certified people doing repairs instead of the little play play people,” Tracy Grant said.
Grant is president of the Eureka Gardens Tenants Association. She said in the past 24 hours the amount of work has intensified to complete repairs in time for a HUD inspection that was planned for Friday. She said the contractors appeared to be licensed.
“I’m excited, but we shouldn’t have had to go through all this in order to get half the stuff that’s getting done now,” Grant said.
City Councilman Garrett Dennis, whose district includes Eureka Gardens, said the Thursday that the HUD inspection has been delayed a month.
“HUD decided to give them extra time. I truly believe that Rev. (Richard) Hamlet and Eureka Gardens just isn’t ready for the inspections,” Dennis said.
Hamlet is the founder of Global Ministries Foundation, which owns the complex and several others in town.
Dennis said he understands the need to finish the upgrades in the complex and that there has been a lot of progress at Eureka Gardens since he took office this past summer.
“It’s come a long way, but it hasn’t just been me. It’s been the organization of the tenants, they’re the real champions of this,” Dennis said. “It’s been the mayor and rest of my colleagues on the council.”
The big reason for the delay in HUD inspections is a need to complete repairs to an estimated 350 more units, Dennis said.