Advocacy Issues

The Issue: Jordan Park

Neighborhood: 

City Council Member: Lisa Wheeler-Bowman,  lisa.wheeler-bowman@stpete.org

Action You Can Take Now: Send a message to City Council by clicking here

BACKGROUND

Jordan Park, located between 9th and 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 Senior, 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. 

In 2000, most of the historic Jordan Park housing was demolished, replaced by 237 new units. The only parts of the original Jordan Park housing project left untouched were 31 units known today as the Historic Senior Village as well as Jordan Park's old administrative building which became the Dr. Carter G. Woodson Museum in 2006. 

Among the many who have called Jordan Park home are acclaimed actress Angela Bassett, two time Super Bowl champion Glenn Edwards, former Bayfront Medical Center Chief of Staff Paul McRae, longtime educator Willie Felton, and School Board Chair Rene Flowers. 

Jordan Park History (click HERE to see a video with historic photos)

 

TIMELINE

1939-1941: Jordan Park was built becoming the St. Petersburg's first African American public housing complex.

2000: Most of the historic Jordan Park housing was demolished, replaced by 237 new units.

2000: 31 original units of the historic Jordan Park housing are preserved as the Historic Senior Village.

2006: The Dr. Carter G. Woodson Museum opened its doors in Jordan Park's old administrative building.

2016: St. Petersburg Housing Authority (SPHA) bought back the 24 acres of Jordan Park eventually moving residents out of the Historic Senior Village.

August 2020: Council member Deborah Figgs-Sanders requests City Council to initiate an application to designate the Jordan Park Administrative Building as a local landmark. The craftsman-style bungalows that make up Jordan Park remain vacant.


THE THREAT

Controversy has surrounded the future of these historic buildings since 2016 when the SPHA bought back Jordan Park (learn more about this HERE) moving residents out of the Historic Senior Village in an effort to redevelop the housing complex and demolish all 31 of the historic bungalows that make up the Historic Senior Village.  Many of the areas homes are in need of renovation, however demolition has only been requested for the Historic Senior Village- the only building left of the city's first African American public housing complex. 

At this time, the craftsman-style bungalows that make up Jordan Park remain vacant.  It's been four years since the SPHA bought back the property and yet the agency still has not finalized a financing plan for the project.

All over the country public housing authority's are rehabbing some of their oldest housing in order to preserve the integrity associated with historically black communities. The same can be done at Jordan Park!

THE OPPORTUNITY

Jordan Park is very much a part of the city's history, and its few remaining original residences and administration building  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.

The Jordan Park Administration building is being nominated to the local historic register by City Council. This will help ensure the preservation of this building for years to come.

The fate of the remaining original residences remains unclear, but there is an opportunity to preserve them into the future as well, if the community will is there to do so.

WHAT PRESERVE THE ‘BURG IS DOING

PTB will encourage the CPPC and City Council to approve the designation of the Jordan Park Administrative Building to the local historic register. 

WHAT YOU CAN DO

  • When the landmark designation comes before CPPC and City Council you can send a message registering your support.  PTB will keep you informed of how to do so. 

  • Keep up to date on the issue by following Preserve the ‘Burg’s social media posts (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram), and reading our weekly E-news.  Sign up for E-news here

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Contact:
Preserve the 'Burg
P.O. Box 838
St. Petersburg, FL 33731
(727) 824-7802
info@preservetheburg.org
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