Monday, June 23, 2014

Preserving and Protecting St. Augustine, Florida With a St. Augustine National Historical Park and National Seashore

St. Augustine National Historical Park and National Seashore
"A no-brainer." That's how Sheriff DAVID B. SHOAR described the St. Augustine National Historical Park and National Seashore proposal in 2011.
This month marks the 75th anniversary of the first bill in Congress for a St. Augustine National Historical Park ande National Seashore.
As we work to save Echo House and other structures from the wrecking ball, the City of St. Augustine pursues its visioning process, the Park and Seashore will be discussed.
It is up to us to preserve and protect what deserves preserving and protecting here in our Nation's Oldest European-founded City, St. Augustine, Florida -- our beaches, our forests, our watersheds, our scenery, our history.
These are exciting times, and we reach for the stars.
Tree-killing developers are no longer intimidaing activists.
"Temple destroyers" (as John Muir called them) are in disrespute.
When publicly-held companies and contractors building homes in St. Johns County commit frauds, they are now covered by a federal whistleblower law. The Supreme Court ruled that employees of publicly held contractors are covered by the Sarbanes-Oxley law. This means that if stockholders are being misled by developers, employees of the developers and their contractors can blow the whistle on fraud with federal protection. That should put a damper on fraudulent practices by developers here, whom former County Commission Chairman Ben Rich said were "worse than any carpetbagger."
The urgency of preserving our state parks, state forests and water management district lands from destruction requires a federal law. Left to their own devices, Tallahassee politicians would put golf courses in them or allow them to be ruined by developers.
Meanwhile, people are talking about the intriguing possibility of a new 2500 long St. Augustine Beach Pier developed as a public-rpivate partnership, with an Embassy Suites Hotel built atop it by Key International -- using "air rights" traded in exchange for six acres of land that is currently dividing the county St. Augustine Beach Pier Park from the Anastasia State Park (the decrepit, boarded-up, moldy St. Augustine Beach Resort).
The new pier could include a civil rights and history and nature museum under National Park Service auspices, along with restaurants, shops fishing and sightseeing. Like the piers in places like Orange County, California, the new pier would be a true "crown jewel," not just a rhinestone.
Creativity and bold visions are required.
Yes we can!
Ed Slavin
Box 3084
St. Augustine, Florida 32085-3084

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