Jordan Park - A Piece of St. Petersburg History
Jordan Park is very much a part of the city's history and its few remaining original residences deserve to be preserved, renovated and reused. The rich history these buildings represent should never be lost but preserved as a reminder of the area's intended purpose and the struggles to achieve it (to provide affordable, safe and sanitary housing for African Americans). The St. Petersburg Housing Authority (SPHA), however, intends to demolish the historic structures. You can join PTB by speaking up for preserving an important part of our city's past!
Jordan Park History (click here to see a video with historic photos)
Jordan Park, located between 9th & 13th Avenues South and just west of 22nd Street, was the city's first African American public housing complex. It was built between 1939 and 1941 during a time of enforced segregation in the city. Much of the property was donated by its namesake, Elder Jordan Sr, a successful businessman and advocate for African American rights.
In 1937, City Council created a housing authority to seek badly needed public housing. Jordan Park's first phase of 242 units was opened several years later but opposition among some in the community to further public housing was brewing. City council put off approving the planned second phase and instead scheduled a referendum. It passed by just 70 votes out of nearly 4500 votes cast. By 1941, another 204 units were finished resulting in about 1800 people calling Jordan Park home. Among the many who have called it home are acclaimed actress Angela Bassett, two time Super Bowl champion Glenn Edwards, former Bayfront Medical Center's Chief of Staff Paul McRae, longtime educator Willie Felton and School Board Chair Rene Flowers.
In 2000, most of the historic Jordan Park housing was demolished, replaced by 237 new units. In 2006, the Dr. Carter G. Woodson Museum opened its doors in Jordan Park's old administrative building. The only other part of the original Jordan Park housing project left were 31 units known as the Historic Senior Village.
Controversy has surrounded the future of the historic buildings since 2016 when the St. Petersburg Housing Authority (SPHA) bought back Jordan Park. You can read more about it here. Much of the neighborhood's housing stock is in need of renovation, however, demolition is only being requested of the "Historic Senior Village." All over the country public housing authority's are rehabbing some of their oldest housing stock in order to preserve the integrity associated with historically Black communities. The same came be done at Jordan Park!
We have an opportunity to say "YES" to preserving Jordan Park's Historic Senior Village. It was preserved once before in 2000 during the previous Jordan Park renovation project and it can happen again. It's easy to send your message to the St. Petersburg Housing Authority today (and a copy will go to city council and Mayor Kriseman) by clicking on the link below. You can send the form message or you can revise it before sending.
Keep Jordan Park & St. Pete Special.
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