On Wednesday evening, June 28, Quincy residents were invited to attend a community meeting at the Campbell Kelly Community Center at Stevens Park and assist with an upcoming survey of the historic Pepper Hill neighborhood.
The survey will also include the surrounding area from West Jefferson Street in the north to around Martin Luther King Boulevard in the south.
Ruben Acosta, Bureau Chief, Historic Preservation with the Division of Historical Resources, along with Patricia Davenport of Terracon, and Ennis Davis and Adrienne Burke of Community Planning Collaborative, explained that a survey would be held in the near future to identify and document historic structures in the area.
“Today’s meeting is all about trying to identify first Pepper Hill’s boundaries,” explained Quincy Commissioner Angela Sapp as she opened the meeting. “Secondly, to identify some of the buildings that are still standing in Pepper Hill.”
A previous survey conducted in 1996 focused on buildings constructed up until 1946 in the area, and Burke explained that the upcoming survey would center on Buildings constructed between 1946 and 1976.
“There’s been a lot of attention placed on this area of Florida over the last five years since Hurricane Michael,” said Acosta. “We have been working on collecting more information and documenting historic resources in this part of Florida, because for a long time no work had really been done, and we need to know what’s out here in order to help you, because, following events like Hurricane Michael, there tends to be a lot of direct assistance for property owners, for municipalities, for county governments, that’s coming down from the federal government through federal agencies like FEMA, and one of the things that they look at when they’re spending money is whether the money is going to impact historical resources. So we need to be able to answer that question, because there are actually benefits associated with something being considered a historic resource. They will take that into account when FEMA is reviewing proposed work to a property, or if there are grants being handed out for various programs.”
Acosta further explained that his department was using money they received from the federal government annually to fund the survey, and also that in 2022 they had completed a survey in rural Gadsden County focused on crossroads communities and tobacco farming areas which were also impacted by Hurricane Michael.
“We are literally the boots on the ground collecting data,” said Davenport of her consulting team at Terracon. “Along with the data collection we’re doing, we have a historical context and narrative that supports those historic resources and why they are considered significant, and we get a lot of that information from the community.”
Davenport explained that she expects the field work portion of the project to take place around July 10-17, and that a team of 4-5 data collectors wearing high-visibility vests will be gathering information in the designated areas.
“We will not need to enter your home,” said Davenport. “We will not need to go to the backside of the property. We do like to speak to the community. Please come talk to us, because a lot of times we might have a question you can answer. We are hoping to get everything done in a week.”
Following the introductions and explanations, the members of the public who attended the meeting were asked to help pinpoint the locations of neighborhoods and landmarks in the area.
Burke and Davis marked locations mentioned on a large map, with Sapp assisting, using her own knowledge of the area to point out locations called out by residents.
For those who were unable to attend the Wednesday meeting, or the Thursday, June 29 Zoom meeting, you can call (904) 577-0255 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on the survey, or if you have your own information about a historic structure near Pepper Hill.
Stephen Klein – Gadsden County News Service