Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About St. Augustine National Historical Park and Seashore
1. Will this park legislation violate private property rights?
No. The draft legislation provides for donations of government lands and donations or sales from willing sellers. Condemnation lawsuits are authorized only to “preserve [historic buildings and land] from destruction.”
2. How would the park affect local businesses, tourist attractions and churches?
Very positively. Historic and environmental tourists spend more and stay longer, studies show. This will create more good-paying jobs, in the Park Service, kayaking, tour guide companies, restaurants, hotels and guest houses. There’s a list of tourist attractions and places of worship in the legislation that the National Park Service would be authorized to assist with historic interpretation. It includes the churches where Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rev. Andrew Young spoke, working with local residents to create our 1964 Civil Rights Act.
3. Will this legislation take over the government of the City of St. Augustine?
No. But St. Augustine can donate a few parks to the cause. Our city needs help and cannot handle the 450th celebration alone. A greater National Park Service presence here will help better guide and orient millions of visitors. The park will help make our city a better place – just ask the residents of Cape Cod and Cape Hatteras.
4. What positive changes will creation of a St. Augustine National Park and Seashore make?
A. Increase property values and local tax collections. Property values increase near National Parks and Seashores. Bed tax and sales tax receipts will increase.
B. Grow our economy. Our local economy is stagnant. NPS will help get us out of the ditch.
C. Reduce spending by our state, local and water management district government.
D. Increase the quality of marketing -- greatly simplified by combining all this land into one National Park.
E. Improve the quality of historic and environmental interpretation, preservation and protection. Right now, tourists learn very little about our African-American and Civil Rights history, for example, or the heroic history of the Minorcans and other immigrants to our shores, or the endangered species that make this area a paradise. NPS is experienced at protecting nature and interpreting history while stimulating tourism. A National Civil Rights museum here in St. Augustine will attract more school groups and minority tourists – Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is known world-wide and his legacy here will attract tourists.
5. Why take county beaches? NPS is experienced at managing seashores and will invest more in beach preservation and renourishment if NPS owns the land. Nothing can beat the “National Seashore” and “National Park Service” brands. County beach employees will be eligible for federal jobs, benefits and retirement.
6. How will this affect historic re-enactors? Good jobs await them at the National Park Service.
7. Is this legislation family-friendly? Yes. Residents and tourists will thank you for creating a wholesome place to take children where they learn about history and our environment, with a classroom that is as big as all outdoors, embracing 11,000 years of human history on these shores.
8. How will this affect beach driving? The legislation does not address it, either way. Elsewhere, as in Cape Cod, residents are licensed to drive on NPS beaches after proper training and could take tourists on beach tours.
9. Is there a potential downside? One. Proper transportation planning is required to avoid congestion. The draft bill requires a plan for “cost-effective, sustainable, carbon-neutral, environmentally-friendly means of transporting visitors and residents to and through the park’s locations, using trolley cars resembling those in use in St. Augustine, Florida in 1928, with the goal of reducing hydrocarbon consumption, traffic congestion, air pollution and damage to historic structures.”
10. When was the National Park idea first proposed? Some seventy (70) years ago, before World War II.
11. What are we waiting for? You tell me!
12. What do you want the Legislature to do? Authorize transfer of lands to the National Park Service, paving the way for Congressional action in the 112th Congress, in time for the celebrations starting in 2013.
13. What will this cost the state, county and local governments? Nothing. It saves us millions of dollars annually.14. How do we learn more? Please see www.staugustgreen.com.