JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A major milestone was reached on Friday for the Eureka Gardens Apartments complex as a new playground was unveiled.
The playground was funded by money raised by the efforts of Pastor Mark Griffin, of Wayman Ministries a church across the street, who has made Eureka Gardens his mission field.
“We still have donations coming in to maintain it from an operational standpoint,” Griffin said. “I just believe that now that the children have something positive to engage in, maybe some of these issues we’ve had in this community for eight or nine years now, won’t be reoccurring.”
The owner of the complex Richard Hamlet was in attendance at the opening ceremony and he announced this construction for the youth doesn’t end here.
“We’re making improvements, and continuing to do what we need to do and make adjustments where we need to make adjustments,” Hamlet said.
Sheriff Mike Williams who also showed up for the event said there’s been a decline in crime in the area.
“We monitor that daily. We’ve got a zone commander out here and clearly everyone knows Eureka has been an issue for us for a long time,” Williams said. “We’ve done much better these last couple years. We still have work to do, so obviously patrols have been increased, different deployments and that type of thing.”
The opening was not short on pageantry or enthusiasm as the kids scrambled to the slides and swings. Parents at the playground told News4Jax there is some progress being made at the property.
“They’re coming along,” said Tiffany Peterson, a parent and resident at Eureka Gardens. “They’re also working on the apartments and now they have this for the kids to play. I’d rather they be out here in the fresh air than inside in the apartments.”
The tenant’s association has decided to manage and monitor the playground.
Hamlet also announced Global Ministries Foundation will also be building a basketball court at Eureka Gardens in coming months.
Still, there’s a lot more work to be done with getting the entire complex up to code.