Robles Park relocation
In early September, 96 residents of Robles Park learned that they would have to move. And it wasn’t mold, the public housing development was built over 130 graves in Florida’s first Black cemetery.
The relocation of the residents will allow archaeological work to take place at the once covered Zion Cemetery so that it can be turned into a memorial.
Construction on Robles first began in the 1950s. At that point, despite finding three caskets on the property, construction workers were instructed to keep building. The investigation into these paved over graves was prompted by a June report from the Tampa Bay Times that said that there were over 100 unaccounted for graves along North Florida Avenue, and that some could potentially be under the public housing development.
Officials are now including the residents who need to be relocated in the mitigation process. At a recent meeting they were given three options: move to another part of Robles, relocate to another public housing development or receive a Section 8 voucher, which is a program through which households only pay a portion of their income for housing.
Relocation of residents will begin in the next 30-60 days so that work on creating a memorial to finally remember the 130 graves of previously forgotten members of the community.