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Discover Jacksonville 2017

COMMUNITIES A new Drees

COMMUNITIES A new Drees Home (L) takes shape next to a recently finished one on Orchard Oriole Place in Preserve at Two Creeks in Middleburg. (Bruce Lipsky/Florida Times-Union) Sanderson A chosen few About 50 miles west of Jacksonville on Interstate 10, Sanderson offers a faster commute to downtown than some communities with a Jacksonville ZIP code. While many commute to work, jobs have increased by 4.29 percent in Sanderson, including jobs in health care, retail, hospitality and service businesses. And those who live there enjoy a cost of living 10.9 percent lower than the U.S. average. In the past two years, the population of Sanderson more than doubled to 12,495. Home buyers typically get a larger house and more property for less money than they would elsewhere, choosing from manufactured housing in the $50,000s to a 1,700-square-foot cabin on 50 acres for $625,000. The average home price is $114,900. CLAY COUNTY Fleming Island (Eagle Harbor ... Fleming Island Plantation ... Pace Island ... Hibernia Plantation ... Margaret’s Walk ... Romeo Point) Strength of character Margaret Seton Fleming had a working knowledge of trade, business 30 | 2017 DISCOVER JACKSONVILLE and politics, as well as domestic subjects. In 1837, the highly disciplined and spiritual Fleming moved to Hibernia Plantation with her new husband, Lewis Fleming, whose father George had received Fleming Island as a 1790 land grant from the king of Spain. In the years to come, she would twice witness the destruction of the plantation and twice bring it back from ashes. Her dream from the time she arrived at Hibernia was to have a proper chapel on the grounds. Construction on the church in the Carpenter Gothic style began in 1875 and was completed in 1878. Sadly, Margaret died only months before its completion, and its first service was her funeral. Today, Fleming Island is one of the fastest-growing areas in the county. Fleming Island home prices in developments such as Eagle Harbor, Pace Island, Hibernia Plantation and Romeo Point range from the $300,000s up to $3 million, with the majority of homes in the $350,000-to-$500,000 range. The median house or condo value for all Fleming Island is $243,300. The area has many organized activities for people of all ages. There is an active 55-plus group, a number of championship-quality golf courses, organized tennis, soccer and all types of programs for children. Green Cove Springs Healthy beginning, healthy living today Green Cove Springs was a booming town on a bend of the St. Johns River early in the 1900s. River steamers brought visitors to the “Saratoga of the South,” noted for the health-giving qualities of its spring. Its hotels and boarding houses rivaled the best northern resorts. As an expanding railroad system carried tourists south, Green Cove Springs saw its first decline. Grand hotels, most made of wood, were left in disrepair or burned down. The city experienced renewed development in the 1940s with the wartime construction of Benjamin Lee Field, a 1,500-acre air auxiliary complex, by the U.S. Navy. After the war, the base became home port to a fleet of 600 ships. Green Cove Springs experienced yet another decline when the Navy decommissioned its base in 1961. But Green Cove, as most locals refer to the county seat, has been coming back. Its population is about 7,000. There are many older homes in Green Cove, and in and around town a lot of new homes continue to be built. The average home price is $121,800.

COMMUNITIES Magnolia Point, a gated golf, tennis and country club off U.S. Highway 17, is zoned for about 975 homes, with 800 already built and inhabited. Current prices range from about $208,000 to $382,000. Bay Street Condominiums offer two- or three-bedroom condos with a boat slip for about $300,000. Keystone Heights To the moon and back Keystone Heights is a community found at the southern tip of Clay County amid numerous sand-bottomed lakes. Keystone was settled by Pennsylvanians drawn to the numerous lakes in the early 1920s. The town’s name was derived from Pennsylvania’s nickname — the Keystone State — and for the area’s unusual hilly terrain. Keystone Heights is also home to one of the country’s moon trees. When Apollo 14 launched in 1971, it carried with it hundreds of tree seeds, part of a joint NASA/USFS project. Upon return to Earth, the seeds that survived reentry were germinated by the U.S. Forest Service. Known as the “moon trees,” the resulting seedlings were planted throughout the U.S and around the world. Unfortunately no systematic effort was made to track the trees, but one of the rare trees stands beside the library at the corner of Lawrence Boulevard and Orchid Avenue in Keystone Heights. Today, Keystone Heights is a small, peaceful, family-oriented town, with many family-owned businesses. The average home price is $133,100. There are numerous recreational opportunities, including a beach with bathhouses and shaded picnic tables, public boat ramps, lighted tennis courts, nature trails and the former Keystone Heights golf course, renamed Lakeside Links Golf Club in 2015. Keystone Heights Airpark, constructed in 1942 as Crystal Lake Airfield, also calls the area home. The 2,500-acre park has one of the few aviation sports facilities in Florida and also offers flight training. The Airpark Authority also leases wildlife area to a sportsman’s club, with designated areas for corporate leasing and access to the taxiways, and a large area for an industrial park. Middleburg A simpler way of life Middleburg started in the early 1800s as Clark’s Ferry. Nearby Fort Heilman protected settlers at Clark's Ferry where it was a major depot for Florida’s east coast. From 1833 to 1850, the area was then known as Gary's Ferry, and in 1853 the area was finally called Middleburg. The town traded in timber, citrus fruits and crops from farmland. When Clay County was created in 1858, Middleburg became the temporary county seat until 1874. Decades ago, dirt roads were common. Visitors rarely saw a street sign, and most residents came to Middleburg, St. Vincent’s Medical Center Clay County St. Johns River State College Orange Park Medical Center southwest of Orange Park, looking for a way to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. Now, most — if not all — of that has changed. Middleburg covers a nearly 20 squaremile area in Clay County and had a little more than 13,000 residents in 2016. Spurred by infrastructure improvements a few years ago, with water and septic lines coming into the community, a great deal of commercial building has occurred, including new fast-food restaurants and retail outlets. This has led to increased property values and has made Middleburg more appealing to commuters. Kindred Hospital North Florida Baptist & Wolfson Children’s Emergency Center Clay County Neighborhoods 2017 DISCOVER JACKSONVILLE | 31