“We know the perils of putting on an event like this,” County Administrator Michael Wanchick noted as county commissioners Tuesdayspent half an hour assuring that, while the city will pay the county $50,000 for assistance in planning the Mumford concert, the county will assume no risks.
Said Wanchick, “This is a city event, not a county event.”
“I am astounded,” former Mayor George Gardner said during public comment, “that while more than 25,000 visitors will fill county as well as city motels, hotels, restaurants and businesses, you have spent a half hour making sure you’re not at risk for any of the work. I look forward to the day city and county can work together for the benefit of all of us.”
The commission approved an interlocal agreement for that $50,000 payment, as well as $129,485 in bed tax funds toward the city’s park and shuttle program for the September 13-14concert.
Meanwhile, the city’s Neighborhood Council has submitted more than 100 questions to help fill an FAQ section in the city’s concert website. The result of canvassing the city’s neighborhood associations, the list includes questions on traffic and parking, impact on quality of life, legal and procedural issues, security and safety, and business concerns and issues.
Beginning what city officials described as a “big informational blitz” at the end of last week, City Manager John Regan, in a press release to the St. Augustine Record, defended expenses for the Picasso exhibit and upcoming Mumford concert “to support and recognize the importance of arts and culture as the backbone of our town.” Mayor Joe Boles added, “This (Picasso) amenity was not just for tourists. But our visitors could see that this was something new and different.”
Monday’s Record featured How St. Augustine mobilized to celebrate the city’s 400th, listing numerous projects and community-based programs celebrating the city’s history.
El Galeón in
the Big Apple
Fundación Nao Victoria Manager Eduardo Almagro Blanco sends a hyperlink postcard of “EL GALEON of St. Augustine arrival in the Big Apple.
“As you may know, EL GALEON arrived at NYC last Saturday (July 27)” he writes. “All the crew is very excited for being in NYC with EL GALEON for the first time.
The 170-foot replica Spanish galleon completed a successful two month visit here July 23 for the scheduled visit to New York, amid discussions to make St. Augustine the ship’s North American home port.
Photo: El Galeon meets Lady Liberty
Riberia Street reopening
after 3-year rehabilitation
Section of completed street
The rehabilitated Riberia Street, a 3-year, $8.5 million project, will be dedicatedFriday, August 9, at 9 am at its southern point adjacent to the Galimore Center.
The Public Works Department is coordinating a procession of city vehicles from Bridge Street to the ceremonies.
The rehabilitated street includes new roadway and sidewalks, drainage improvements to alleviate flooding, and water and sewer utilities upgrade for better water quality and enhanced fire protection.
The $8.5 million cost included funding from the St. Johns River Water Management District, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, and a Community Development Block Grant.
A 7-eleven site park?
A reader suggests: What if contact could be made with the lawyers/financial advisers of the recent Powerball lottery winner from Zephyrhills FL, with a one-time payout of $200+ million?
If she and her advisors could be persuaded to buy the 7-11 parcel of land and make a community park that will have her family name, (it would be) a gift of her lifetime and “carry forward” in the lifetime of St. Augustine.
I see that Mrs. Mackenzie has relocated to the Jacksonville area and is living with her son in a new home. She seems to feel that part of her “luck” may be based on the fact that a young woman in the convenience store line ahead of her gave up her spot – an act of kindness to an older person.
Mrs. Mackenzie’s purchase of the 7-11 property would be an opportunity to “pay it forward” to the next generations. The impact of her win will last far longer than practically any other purchase or investment she could make.
A plaque in the “Mackenzie Park,” just across the street from the carousel – what a pleasant entry to the city instead of another convenience store!
Finding Fort Mose
African American Futurist plans major weekend
Rendering of billboard for Market weekend
Yul and Brenda Anderson weren’t aware of Fort Mose when they first visited St. Augustine, and discovered many other folks weren’t either.
That became both an opportunity and challenge for Yul, founder of the African American Future Society some 20 years ago. His vision is a Fort Mose African Market – a 3-day Viva Florida 500 event over the Columbus Day weekend.
Plans include business meetings with representatives from Cote DIvoire, Africa, a White Party sponsored by Red Bull and Quiet Storm Vodka, a West African drummer and dance team, gospel concert, and the African Market.
Brenda and Yul Anderson
Yul has arranged digital billboard advertising in Jacksonville through Clearly Jacksonville, a nonprofit that develops public service announcements in cooperation with Clear Channel Outdoor advertising.
The African American Future Society’s goal, Yul explains, is “to inform African Americans and others in the possible ways in which the future may impact their lives, and to provide alternative future(s) planning and development.” It is affiliated with the 501.c.3 Ozilly Connections from the Ivory Coast of Africa.
A futurist? A graduate of Dartmouth College, Yul has a Masters Degree in Future Studies from the University of Massachusetts (Amherst), and lectured and consults with the United Nations and other world bodies. “The African American Future Society promotes African American culture” he says. “It provides access to ideas, talents and experience, through education, training, books, information, the arts, the sciences and technology.”
News & notes
Pena-Peck House in PBS documentary
National Park Service ranger shows Fort Matanzas workings from the inside to Youth Ambassadors of St. Augustine, a student group learning the city’s history for the 450th.
Tee off for homeless kids
The St. Johns Business Network is sponsoring a Charity Golf Tournament/Business EXPO to support the over 600 homeless children in St. John’s County through Home Again St. Johns. Royal St. Augustine Golf & Country Club, August 26, 10 am-3 pm.
Picasso, Mosaic exhibits close
The Picasso Art & Arena exhibition at the Visitor Center closes Sunday, August 11. $5 adults, $4 seniors, $3 children 7 to 12. Open 9 am-5 pm daily.
Ancient City Mosaic, the exhibit of more than 450 canvases featuring artistic impressions of St. Augustine created by the community, closes Thursday, August 8, at the Former Exchange Bank lobby on Cathedral Place. Hours 3-6 pm.
In the mailbag
… If you’ll read the FAQs on the Troy, Ohio, Main Streetwebsite, you will see they do two things CoSA (City of St. Augustine) has not: 1) they state they haven’t used any tax-payer money for their Mumford engagement, and 2) the FAQs reflect a concern for RESIDENTS, not just downtown merchants–ALL of us, a community! … Puts a different spin on everything.
… Sort of amazing how (450 Director Dana) St. Claire doesn’t even acknowledge the economic loss. Apparently doesn’t even care. Maybe he feels the loss is justified because of the cultural benefit to the city. Then why not say so? Why not say, “Even though this event lost money, we feel it boosted the city’s cultural value” or words to that effect. What you have here is management that has a total disconnect to economic realities. They’ll learn the same lesson with the Mumford thing. … If this is success I’d hate to see a failure.
7-Eleven store plan
… I personally would donate $1,000 toward the purchase of the land at the northeast corner of May and San Marco. Thanks for your commentary on that, which I hope gets some traction!
Menendez’ enslavement plan
2 years, 1 month, 2 days to St. Augustine’s 450th anniversary
From research by John Worth, Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of West Florida
St. Augustine founder Pedro Menendez’ colony was settled in the territory of the agricultural Timucuan people of northern Florida, and within a year of its founding, Menendez sought control of South Florida’s more aggressive chiefdoms with establishment of three garrisons stretching to Miami.
By January 1568, the Tocobaga and Tequesta forts had been overrun and abandoned, and by June 1569, the last garrison had been withdrawn from Calusa territory.
In January 1573, Menendez proposed a radical change in strategy, reflecting his complete loss of hope for controlling South Florida’s native peoples.
“Although all the Indians … have been approached in great friendship,” he wrote, “and have been given many gifts and brought many times to Havana and returned to their lands, and have rendered obedience to His Majesty, they have many times ruptured the peace, killing many Christians, and they have been pardoned, and despite everything they have not taken advantage of this …
“From now on,” he continued, “in order to protect the service of God our lord, and of His Majesty, it is suitable … that war be waged on them with all rigor, in blood and fire, and that those who are taken alive can be sold as slaves, removing them from the land and carrying them to the neighboring islands of Cuba, Santo Domingo, and Puerto Rico … and it will be a great example and fear for the friendly Indians who maintain and fulfill our friendship.”
The Spanish crown denied Menendez’s request and instead proposed that Spanish soldiers “go into the interior and apprehend all those guilty for the murders and sacrifices that have been committed against Christians under pretense of peace and friendship” but that the rest “should be brought to the islands of Cuba, Hispaniola, and Puerto Rico and turned over to the justices of those islands so that they are distributed among the people that seem most suitable to instruct them in government, and to become Christians, or to give them places to make their villages with the government of people who will occupy them in labor, and to have regulation and catechesis.”
In all cases, however, the Spanish crown commanded, “that neither one nor the other should be slaves.” Although this plan was never implemented, it demonstrates staunch legal support for the prohibition of any Indian slavery in Spanish colonies after the early sixteenth century.
After nearly a century and a half of near-total isolation, between 1704 and 1760 several hundred South Florida Indian refugees from English-sponsored enslavement were voluntarily transported to Cuba and resettled at a location on Havana Bay, where they established a community and were sent missionaries, just as proposed in the official response to Menendez’s 1573 proposal.
Image: Representation of Calusa battle with Ponce de Leon in 1521, where he was fatally wounded.
St. Augustine Bedtime Stories – Dramatic accounts of famous people and events in St. Augustine’s history – in booklets designed for quick reads before bed. Information here.
The St. Augustine Reportis published weekly, with additional Reports previewing City Commission meetings as well as Special Reports. The Report is written and distributed by George Gardner, St. Augustine Mayor (2002-2006) and Commissioner (2006-2008) and a former newspaper reporter and editor. Contact the Report at [email protected]