UPDATE, August 15, 2023 9:09 AM: Approved. Unanimously. No discussion. Three cheers! Another day, another public interest victory in St. Johns County.
At their Tuesday, 9 AM August 15, 2023 meeting, our St. Johns County Commissioners will consider accepting the gift of an historic home where Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. would have stayed, had it not been shot up and fire-bombed by segregationists, who were never caught or prosecuted.
Fire-bombed: that's a word that JAN BREWER, longtime County putative manager, did not want used. Wonder why? Was it out of fear of consequences in Governor RONALD DION DeSANTIS's Florida, a place where African-American history is disdained and censored. Hint: it's long past time for retaliatory mismanaged JAN BREWER to go. (I've asked for her 30+ years of journals to be preserved and protected as our government records.)
Meanwhile, congratulations to all for preserving our African-American and civil rights history. It takes a village. This was a cause of the late Commissioner Paul Waldron, 3rd District Commissioner, a cause supported unanimously by all Commissioners.
Now it's time for the County to reinstate Mr. Trey Alexander Asner, the County's Cultural Resources Coordinator who was canned on August 19, 2023 for working with then property owner and civil rights groups to save Canright House on orders of unqualified County Administrator HUNTER SINCLAIR CONRAD. (CONRAD resigned June 29, 2023 amidst revelations of his illegal conduct, for which he was allowed to reign and given a "golden parachute," and an illegal self-serving metal non-disparagement agreement that CONRAD drafted and demanded. (Good riddance).
At long last, the Rule of Law to prevail in our County, where several successive County Administrators have been enemies of historic preservation and environmental protection.
Here's Interim County Administrator Joy Q. Andrew's memo on Consent Agenda Item 21:
The historic Canright House at 5480 Atlantic View, on Anastasia Island, has significant links to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's visit to St. Augustine in May of 1964. This beach cottage attracted international attention in 1964, and a photograph taken there of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. pointing to a bullet hole in the window has become one of the iconic images of the civil rights movement. It was the winter home of Dr. Cyril M. and Winifred Canright which they made available to Dr. King when he came to St. Augustine in May 1964 for the mass campaign that led to the passage of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964. Staffers stayed there, but Dr. King had not yet spent a night in the house when the local newspaper ran directions to it on the front page, and segregationists attacked it on numerous occasions, shooting up the house, attempting to burn it, and fire bombing it. These events were widely reported around the country, and increased public pressure to do away with racial segregation. On August 16, 2022, the Board of County Commissioners discussed the relocation of the Canright House and upon motion of the Board, gave direction to write a letter in support for two non-profits organizations in their effort to raise money for the relocation of the structure to Joel A. "Bubba" Williams Windswept Acres Park. The house is currently owned by St. Johns County resident David Manaute, who is offering to donate the structure to St. Johns County. The St. Johns County Parks Foundation received a state appropriation for the Foundation to relocate the structure. The Parks and Recreation Department is seeking the Board's approval to accept and authorize the relocation of the structure, and authorize the County Administrator to negotiate and execute agreements with the Parks Foundation and the home owner for the relocation of the Canright House to Joel A. "Bubba" Williams Windswept Acres Park, 210 Mickler Road, St. Augustine, FL 32080.
Here's the draft resolution:
RESOLUTION NO. 2023-
A RESOLUTION BY THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF ST. JOHNS COUNTY, FLORIDA, ACCEPTING AND AUTHORIZING THE RELOCATION OF THE HOUSE LOCATED AT 5480 ATLANTIC VIEW TO JOEL A. "BUBBA" WILLIAMS WINDSWEPT ACRES PARK; AUTHORIZING THE COUNTY ADMINISTRATOR TO NEGOTIATE AND EXECUTE NECESSARY AGREEMENTS.
WHEREAS, the house located at 5480 Atlantic View, on Anastasia Island, known as the “Canright House” has significant links to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s visit to St. Augustine in May of 1964; and
WHEREAS, the Canright House attracted international attention in 1964, and a photograph taken there of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. pointing to a bullet hole in the window has become one of the iconic images of the civil rights movement; and
WHEREAS, the current owner of the Canright House is redeveloping the property, and has agreed to allow relocation and donation of the structure to further preserve the history of the events that occurred there; and
WHEREAS, St. Johns Count Parks Foundation, Inc. requested and received state funding and has agreed to undertake the relocation and restoration of the structure; and
WHEREAS, the proposed site for relocation, Joel A. “Bubba” Williams Windswept Acres Park, at 210 Mickler Road, is ideal due to its proximity to the existing structure and historic site; and
WHEREAS, it is in the best interest of the public to accept the structure and allow for its relocation to County property due to its historic significance for the citizens of St. Johns County.
NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED by the Board of County Commissioners of St. Johns County, Florida that:
Section 1. The above Recitals are incorporated by reference into the body of this Resolution and such Recitals are adopted as findings of fact.
Section 2. The Board of County Commissioners hereby, accepts and authorizes the relocation of the house located at 5480 Atlantic View to Joel A. “Bubba” Williams Windswept Acres Park, at 210 Mickler Road.
Section3. The County Administrator is authorized to negotiate and execute
agreements with the owner of the house and St. Johns County Parks Foundation, Inc., to effectuate the donation and relocation.
Section 4. To the extent that there are typographical, scriveners or administrative errors that do not change the tone, tenor, or concept of this Resolution, then this Resolution may be revised without subsequent approval by the Board of County Commissioners.
PASSED AND ADOPTED by the Board of County Commissioners of
St. Johns County, Florida, this
day of August 2023.
BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF ST. JOHNS COUNTY, FLORIDA
By: ____________________________________ Christian Whitehurst, Chair
ATTEST: Brandon J. Patty,
Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller
_____________________ Deputy Clerk