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5 Points historic district tarnished by trash

City says litter receptacles in neighborhood serviced Saturday and Tuesday, and merchants association assists with excess debris

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A piece of history is being tarnished by trash.

Residents and business owners in Riverside’s Five Points historic district are fed up with garbage on their streets and sidewalks.

The arts and entertainment area, about 2 miles from downtown Jacksonville, is filled with charm: trendy restaurants, eclectic shops and the centerpiece -- the Sun-Ray Cinema.

“We see every mix of every kind of person and I think that’s what makes Five Points so wonderful," Cindy Barfield, co-owner of 5 Points Vintage.

But outside the well-kept, locally-owned small businesses is something less friendly.

“Cans, cigarette butts,” said Tammie Faircloth, manager of Midnight Sun. “Empty pizza boxes, sandwich boxes -- everything. I found a wig in my doorway last week.”

She said she has been in the area for decades and sees trash every day, noting it’s worse after the weekend because the area is also a nightlife hotspot, plus it’s home to a large homeless population.

“The city owns the sidewalk,” she said, adding that residents are forced to clean it up. “I’d say a lot of merchants and do-gooders.”

Jamee Yocum, the owner of Bark on Park, shared disgusting photos on Facebook Monday morning, prompting dozens of comments. They show waste overflowing from cans and garbage picked through and thrown on the street.

On Monday, Jamee Yocum, the owner of Bark on Park, shared photos on Facebook that showed trash overflowing from garbage cans and trash in storm drains.
On Monday, Jamee Yocum, the owner of Bark on Park, shared photos on Facebook that showed trash overflowing from garbage cans and trash in storm drains. (Jamee Yocum)

There are also environmental concerns because, when it rains, business owners said that garbage goes into the storm drains, which pour directly into the St. Johns River.

“It irritates me when I have to pick up after slobs,” said Ann Otteson, who lives around the corner and collects trash with her friend on their daily walks.

Barfield, the co-owner of 5 Points Vintage, said her company often pays someone to clean up the trash around the storefront.

“When you have a business it’s like your home,” Barfield said. “You want people to feel welcome and want to come in. And when it looks dirty, it isn’t always welcoming.”

She said the city rarely does more than take out the trash from the receptacles.

“I can’t even remember the last time I saw anyone,” Barfield noted.

On Monday, Jamee Yocum, the owner of Bark on Park, shared photos on Facebook that showed trash overflowing from garbage cans and trash in storm drains.
On Monday, Jamee Yocum, the owner of Bark on Park, shared photos on Facebook that showed trash overflowing from garbage cans and trash in storm drains. (Jamee Yocum)

There are so many things to like in the neighborhood, but many Riversiders hope the city will do something to fix the things they don’t like.

News4Jax reached out to the mayor’s office and sent them photos of the trash Monday morning. A spokesperson took the complaint to the manager of public works.

Monday afternoon, the city released this statement:

“Litter receptacles in 5 points are serviced on Saturday and Tuesday. Their merchant’s association assists with excess debris when large functions are utilizing their establishments. Residents can also call 630-CITY to report any litter related issue.”

After the I-TEAM asked about action in a followup email, the city spokeswoman replied that cleanup crews were going to be in the area to assess the problems and clean up trash within 24 hours.


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