Some St. Johns County residents concerned about new developments

Residents think new development being built on old cemetery

By Destiny McKeiver - Multi-media journalist

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. - St. Johns County is expanding near the Bartram Park area, as the Pavilion At Durbin Park and Bartram Markets are growing. They are two shopping centers off State Road 9B and Race Track Road.

While some residents are happy for additions like Walmart, Publix and other retailers, some are not.

Some Bartram residents are upset because they think the new development is being built on an old cemetery. The developer responded on Facebook, saying this is not the case.

"We live in the area, and we love it," Mary Hornsby said. "We didn't think we would at first. We moved from a condo on that end to a house here. It's just convenient already for gas, for Walmart and we're really going to like when Publix comes in. We can walk."

The Pavilion At Durbin Park is growing to include retail and dining options, office space and multi-family housing. A Walmart and Gate are also part of this development.

Construction began in the Bartram Market a couple months ago, with a Publix as an anchor store.

"Do you hear any talk from your neighbors who don’t like it?" News4Jax asked.

"Everyone likes it. Everyone. All my neighbors like it," Hornsby said. "We're down in the middle, and everyone likes it."

Although some feel the area's growth is convenient, others in Julington Creek are posting to social media with concerns, saying the development is being built on cemetery property and that 19 gravesites were being dug up to make room for the new development. The News4Jax I-TEAM checked and found that's not true.

The Eastland Development and Investments shared plans of the building on its website. The plans do not appear to affect the cemetery.

On Monday, the developer sent News4Jax the following statement:

Julington Creek Cemetery is a long standing family cemetery/plot in St. Johns County, which is a completely separate parcel of land from our project Bartram Market. Eastland has plans to provide a landscape beautification buffer between our project and the cemetery to benefit both properties. In no way are any grave sites being dug up at Julington Creek Cemetery by us or anyone that we know of for that matter."

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