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SPOTLIGHT: WILDWOOD HEIGHTS

On a Saturday afternoon in Wildwood Heights, neighbors talk across lawns while others gather in yards. The area is youthful with 1,565 of the 2,040 residents under the age of 45. Oak leaves and acorns appear on neighborhood entrance signs.

BOUNDARIES: Ninth Avenue S to 15th Avenue S, 22nd Street S to 28th Street S. Jordan Park is within the neighborhood boundaries but is not part of the Wildwood Heights Neighborhood Association.

SCHOOLS: Elementary: Westgate, Tyrone, Southern Oak. Middle: Meadowlawn, Riviera, Osceola. High School: Dixie Hollins.

HISTORY: Jean Hammond, association president, still lives in the home in which she was born. She recalls Jordan School as the first school in the area. Another school, Wildwood Elementary, has since become the Department of Juvenile Justice, District 5 facility. The Jennie L. Hall Pool in Wildwood Park is named after a white woman who donated $25,000 to build a pool for black children. Council member Ernest Fillyau was a lifeguard and first pool manager there.

HOUSING: Many of the homes in Wildwood Heights are on narrow 39- by 85-foot lots. One of the oldest properties may be 2552 Ninth Ave. S, built in 1915. Homes range from 544 square feet to more than 2,500 square feet. One of the largest homes may be 2560 14th Ave. S, with 2,560 square feet sitting on two lots.

The property appraiser's office projected sale prices for all properties in 1993-95. In Wildwood those predictions run from $7,800 to $75,200.

Four newly constructed homes will soon occupy lots around 2485 15th Ave. S. The first four-bedroom, two-bath house should be completed by May. A Jordan Park resident already has purchased it for $58,000. The other three houses will be in the $60,000 range and are available from the Genesis Group.

There are some sidewalks, but more are scheduled to arrive along Ninth and 15th avenues S and 26th Street. There are newly planted oaks, cypress and crape myrtles on public rights of way. Homes are colorful. Green, purple, teal, blue, peach and butterscotch are among the selections.

There are Miami windows, jalousies, corner windows and picture windows. Front porches are prevalent. Outdoor clotheslines, flowering hanging baskets and barbecue grills can be found. Many homes have flowers in their gardens.

White wrought iron covers some windows and doors. There are a few boarded houses awaiting new owners.

Bordering association boundaries is federally funded Jordan Park with about 446 housing units. Walt Smyth serves on the Housing Authority Commission. The 57-year-old Jordan Park was built during the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration. Lovely age-old oaks tower over the units. Discussions about Jordan Park's future are ongoing. Some want to gradually replace the small units with single-family homes. Others want to preserve it.

COMMERCIAL: Neighborhood grocery stores include a favorite, South Georgia Meat Market, 2500 12th Ave. S. A sign advertises "chicken wings buy 5 lbs., get 5 lbs. free." There are an abundance of barber shops. Yates, Esquire and Daniels were noted. There are also Vogue and Scrupples beauty salons. About a half-dozen churches were counted in this small neighborhood.

TRIVIA: Travel to 2650 10th Ave. S at 5 a.m. and you will spot the Wildwood Walkers ranging in age from 49 to 76. They meet there daily to walk around the neighborhood park perimeter and recreation center. Two laps equal 1 mile. They are identified by the cobalt blue and white T-shirts they wear. The printed slogan on their backs seems appropriate for this neighborhood. It reads "fun, fitness and friendship."

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