JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jacksonville Jaguars is a team under construction in more ways than one. The organization is teaming up with a non-profit to help revitalize a portion of East Jacksonville right in its own backyard.
East Jacksonville has seen better days. At the heart of the neighborhood, Franklin Street is lined with dilapidated houses and window-less structures.
"We're certainly really concerned about our neighbors right next door to us," said Peter Racine, president of the Jacksonville Jaguars Foundation.
Action News has learned that the Jaguars are rebuilding much more than just a football team this year. The team is partnering with Local Initiatives Support Corporation, or LISC, to improve some of the blighted areas.
"To look back in 15 and 20 years and say how did Jacksonville get better? I think in these neighborhoods, Jacksonville will be better if the kids have safe places to play, great after-school programs, and good, solid housing," said Racine.
Janet Owens, with LISC, is dedicated to restoring East Jacksonville back to its former glory. "At the turn of the century, this was a bustling community."
With the Jaguars on board, they've already revitalized a row of homes and made them energy efficient, spruced up a park and built a football field. But Owens says they have a long season ahead for redevelopment. "We want to see a commercial corridor with small businesses all across it and a grocery store in the neighborhood. Right now it's considered a food desert and healthy lifestyles."
The Jacksonville Jaguars foundation donated $75,000 to create a plan for revitalization for the East Jacksonville neighborhood.