Valencia Way property owners required to make changes to trouble apartments to enhance safety

The city of Jacksonville is one step closer to taking action to improve safety at the Valencia Way Apartments, which has a long history of crime issues.

The property owners stood before the Public Nuisance Abatement Board Thursday to address the issues and complaints from residents.

The complaint from the board listed 11 crimes from Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office data from July to October 2023. Just this year, one person was shot and killed.

Councilwoman Tyrona Clark-Murray hosted a news conference to discuss the meeting with the property owners. The owners are required to meet certain conditions over the next year to bring the Westside property up to compliance.

Clark-Murray said the city’s goal is to hold people accountable. This is the property’s second owner, and Clark-Murray believes that the existing issues were “expected to be remedied” with the new owners.

“I’m a person who grew up in a housing complex similar to Valencia Way,” She said. “It doesn’t have to be that way. Part of my promise is to make sure that criminal activity, if not in the city, at least in District Nine, is curved,” she said

Some of those conditions the owners agreed to included having an inspection completed by JSO, the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department and the building division by Feb. 15.

They also are required to install cameras and give JSO access to the footage when a crime occurs. They also have to release tenant information to JSO by Feb 9.

A condition that the owners didn’t agree to was having a JSO or law enforcement agency put three offices and a supervisor on the property for 24/7 on-site surveillance. The lawyer for the property said that the condition is too burdensome but Clark-Murray said they are working on providing a solution.

”I think we find funding in the city for other things. I don’t see why we can’t find funding for this,” Clark-Murray said.

Monalisa Arnold has lived in the complex since 2006 and said she and her neighbors don’t feel safe living there.

“You get post-traumatic stress disorder from all the stuff that be occurring on a property with your living situation, and you should have a peaceful habitation,” Arnold said.

Arnold said she is, however, happy with the city taking action because she’s spent years reaching out to city leaders to help with the situation.

“I have paper trails everywhere in regards to me reaching out for help, but looks like what I was trying to convey, it was swept up under the rug,” Arnold said. “So, I’m glad that someone is starting to bring it to the light.”

Comments are closed, but trackbacks and pingbacks are open.