Thursday, November 27, 2008

Letter: Create National Park to showcase our history

Letter: Create National Park to showcase our history

Ed Slavin
St. Augustine
Publication Date: 11/16/06

Editor: Why waste millions constructing a new Castillo Visitor Center? Let's learn from urban national parks, including the New Bedford (Mass.) Whaling Historical Park, (13 city blocks, 32 acres), with its cost-saving National Park Service visitor center in a restored building.

Let's ask Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., to propose a "St. Augustine National Historical Park," showcasing all of St. Augustine's history -- Castillo, city gates, historic streets, Slave Market Square, Government House, bayfront/seawall/harbor, Spanish Quarter Village, Anastasia State Park, Fort Mose, Ponce de Leon Golf Course, Red House Bluff, Magnolia Street, Salt Run and other archaeological/natural treasures.

Let's protect forever an "emerald necklace of parks." Let NPS preserve and interpret history, including Native American and African-American history.

Let us be decisive, bold and creative.

Let's tax tourists more to fund preservation. Let's win grants and restore our city's 1928 trolley-car system, solving traffic congestion.

Architect Daniel Burnham said, "Make no little plans for they do not inspire" followers.

At Thanksgiving, be thankful for Democratic victories restoring sanity.

Let's ask Congress to expose/halt Florida government chicanery, e.g., defective election systems; political gerrymandering/corruption; environmental racism; wetland-destruction; tree-killing/clear-cutting; St. Augustine's willful dumping of our old city dump into Old City Reservoir; dumping by JEA, Clay County and Venice, which intentionally dumped semi-treated sewage, pleading guilty to three federal felonies.

As the Record reported, St. Johns River Water Management District specifically ordered our city managers not to dump in and there were no Army Corps permits to excavate the old dump.

Claims of "inadvertence" by city officials are misleading. We need vigorous Congressional investigations and enforcement of environmental criminal laws against executive/managerial wrongdoers, from nuclear weapons plants to oil tankers to city hall. Congress must preserve history and investigate what Mayor George Gardner candidly admits is City Hall's "rampant corruption."

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