A number of weeks ago, we became aware of JEA's attempts to purchase several privately owned vacant lots within our Springfield Historic District. JEA would install new wells on these lots, to service the large Main Street JEA water facility near at the intersection of 1st & Main.
After corresponding with JEA, a meeting was arranged between SPAR and JEA representatives to learn the details of their plans.
Here is a summary of that meeting:
Jacksonville Electrical Authority (JEA) is looking for three sites for new wells to service their Main Street facility, near 1st & Main. Not all sites may be in our neighborhood. The sites would ideally be linear, leading back to the JEA Main Street facility. Each new well has to be at least 1000 ft from the other. JEA needs a 200x200 ft property for each well. The actual fenced off area containing the well equipment would be 50x50 ft near the center of the property.
Preferably a 100 ft set back from the road, but possible exceptions can be made. The well equipment itself is industrial, including large piping, cement pad, silver access box, tall antenna, possible down lighting. Due to the size needed for the site, multiple properties next to each other would probably have to be purchased to use as a well site. No no noise or odor would be detectable at each well, possibly lighting. Fencing and landscaping around the well equipment would be provided.
JEA may make little improvements to the well property (fixing sidewalk, maintain lawn, lighting at the well site).
JEA wants to secure the first site by end of 2015, and construction on that site would start in 2018/19. Construction would take 2-3 months, sometimes overnight, sometimes noisy.
New wells at Carolina Lumber and the intersection of Phelps & A Philip Randolph, both just outside the Historic District, are coming online soon, but 3 additional new well sites are included in their 2031 plan (which is why they are looking in SPR now).
Any new well installed among the residential blocks/areas in the Historic District would be the only in the neighborhood. Other active wells in the neighborhood are in parks or on commercial roads/more intense use areas.
Downtown properties are thought to be too expensive to consider, thus not being looked at. When JEA inquired about using city owned property in LaVilla, the Downtown Investment Authority asked them to look elsewhere.
JEA has made written offers to multiple property owners, but since they need enough property for the correct size, and in a roughly linear route, their property acquisition plans and offers are tentative.
If a well site had to be placed in the Historic District, it was discussed that the large parcels on the 300 block of E. 3rd Street (North side of the street) could be the best fit for their needs. JEA would be able install one well there without taking down any of the large oaks in the lots. The properties on this potential well site currently have different owners, with only some willing to sell to JEA for this use at this time. It is thought that all vacant lot properties in that area are needed for JEA to use it as a well site.
Other potential well sites identified by JEA include on Ionia Street, E. 7th Street and E. 2nd Street. Other sites could be identified, as they are still in the exploratory stage.
SPAR Council will continue the dialogue with JEA and gather input from the community. JEA will cease it's property acquisition attempts within the Historic District during this dialogue.