“We’re good stewards of our historic properties, and this is an important community asset. The waterworks [building] needs an extensive amount of work. I don’t think anybody quite realized how extensive the work was structurally.” — City Commissioner Nancy Sikes-Kline, speaking in a story about the continued restoration work on the old Waterworks building located in Davenport Park. The city is applying for grant money to finish the project. The building was built in 1898 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. There will be an open house May 26 to showcase the work thus far.
Don't break your arm patting yourselves on the back, St. Augustine Commissioners. You need to get to work and stop bragging.
Oh, and Nancy Sikes-Kline is the former girlfriend of St. Augustine Record Opinion Editor Jim Sutton.
In truth and in fact: There's been a veritable demolition derby of historic buildings in St. Augustine, including one destroyed by disgraced ex-Mayor LEN WEEKS on September 25, 2014, a 211-year old Spanish colonial treasure, Don Pedro Fornells House, a sin, a crime and a tort for which WEEKS, Chair of the Historic Architectural Review Board, was fined only $3700 by the City's wacky Code Enforcement Board, after which silly City Attorney ISABELLE CHRISTINE LOPEZ hugged the feckless, reckless thug:
Then there's Echo House, an historic 1926 structure in the African-American community of Lincolnville which the City negligently allowed to be destroyed by racist Gainesville Rev. RONALD RAWLS, Jr. after four lawyers (two Commissioners and two City lawyers, one now a federal judge) goofily okayed a sloppy "right of reverter" in the quitclaim deed, which made NO mention of the historic building.
Historic preservationist David Nolan in front of Echo House. R.I.P., Echo House.
Then there's Carpenter's House, which Pennsylvania lawyer DAVID BARTON CORNEAL tore down before time for filing an appeal from HARB had expired; HARB allowed its destruction (based on false testimony, part of the scheme and scam that created THE COLLECTOR HOTEL, the former DOW MUSEUM OF HISTORIC HOMES, which the DAYTONA MUEUUM OF ARTS AND SCIENCES took $2.1 million in scarce state historic preservation funds to preserve, only to sell it to speculator DAVID BARTON CORNELAL for $1.7 million). Disgrace to the human race.
One bright spot: Commissioners 4-1 halted (TODD NEVILLE dissenting) demolition of a lovely, historic Victoria home, Wisteria House, 32 Grenada Street, by louche landlord LOUIS JOHN ARBIZZANI of New Orleans. I persuaded HARB to declare it a local landmark, only the third time in city history. City Commission affirmed HARB's designation.
Special magistrate mediation on Holy Thursday 2017 resulted in affirming Commission's decision upholding HARB; the building was moved one lot south, raised (not razed), showing that there may be an end to greed. "There's more than one way to skin a developer."
Now that we know now -- declaring local monuments helps protect them from greeed -- I reckon we won't be fooled so much again. But for 30 years, developers, Flagler College and the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind have bullied their way into destroying historic buildings and our natural environment here.
Second quote from Record editorial:
Senator Travis Hutson
- Regulated Industries, Chair
- Appropriations Subcommittee on the Environment and Natural Resources
- Commerce and Tourism
- Environmental Preservation and Conservation
- Ethics and Elections
- Health Policy