PO Box 840127
St. Augustine, FL 32080
Phone: 904 347-8007
The next meeting of the Civic Association will be held Tuesday February 12th at 7pm at City Hall. Our speaker will be second term St. Augustine Beach Mayor S. Gary Snodgrass. Membership renewal for 2013 will be available before the meeting begins. Our meetings are always open the the public and of course refreshments will be served.
We'd like to thank County Commissioner Rachael Bennett for speaking at January's meeting. She informed us that she is on numerous committees on both the county and regional levels and that she is unique in the County Commission for representing two municipalities, St. Augustine and St. Augustine Beach, whereas other commissioners represent county residents. She encouraged those in attendance to contact her with questions and concerns and stressed the importance of communication between representatives and constituents.
Another item of concern at the meeting was a situation at the Anastasia Library Branch which had an attempted breakin late in December. It was suggested that the Civic Association might be able to help financially with the damaged front door. However, it was determined that this was a county issue and most likely insurance could cover it. Commissioner Bennett said she would look into the situation. Also concerning the library was illegal and inconsiderate parking in front to drop off books and/or return books inside. The roadway is narrow there and all traffic leaving the commercial area passes there. It was determined that the situation could be helped by placing no parking/no stopping signs at the library entrance. But first the commercial HOA would have to approve. Then enforcement could take place. It was also suggested that a bicycle rack was needed at the library and the Civic Association will look into donating one, after coordinating with the library.
The Civic Association Board presented several projects for the new year. The first is a Children's Demonstration Garden. Civic Association member and Master Gardener LeaAnn Lombari is heading this up. In December Ms. Lombari arranged a site visit from Mr. Keith Fuller of the SJC Agricultural Extension Department to evaluate the garden area on the north side of the Civic Association building at Pier Park. This was followed by having a water sample analyzed from the irrigation well. By April there should be several raised beds built which will be tended by local youngsters supervised by master gardeners. The visibility of the garden should prove educational and motivational to the many passersby.
Another project at the Civic Association building will be repainting of its exterior by volunteers. It should be completed by February. Bocce Court Renovation is being planned as a joint venture with the Sons of Italy. The courts are used and enjoyed by many and it has been quite a few years since they were originally constructed by the two groups. The Civic Association will match all costs for the project.
Finally, the Civic Association has committed to make a donation towards the construction of a shade structure over the playground at Splash Park. Progress on the expansion and renovation has moved along efficiently. The final touches on the new bathroom and complete renovation of the original bathroom will be completed by mid January. Coquina cement walkways have been poured, knee walls with sitting areas have been constructed around the water features creating a new entrance to the park and the beach. The brick entrance walkway has been laid and so have other pavers been installed around the park. Building Official Gary Larson and new Public Works Director Joe Howell have been making daily inspections supervising the many contractors busily finishing the park. If you haven't seen Splash Park recently, it is certainly worth a look. What a great addition to our community.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of St. Johns County is holding its annual Tips For Kids' Sake on Tuesday February 5th 5pm to 8pm. This event will be held throughout the area with many local restaurants and civic leaders participating. My favorite Commissioner Andrea Samuels will be serving dinner again this year at South Beach Grill and donating all her tips to Big Brothers and Big Sisters.. Reservations are requested, please call South Beach Grill at 471-8700.
The Community Garden received approval by the County Parks and Recreation Advisory Board to be located within Ron Parker Park. There were two stipulations: a sign be provided with contact information and membership in the Community Garden be open to all people. This clears the way for the relocation of the garden which will now be within the jurisdiction of St. Johns County. The Community Garden will be moved later this year.
The barricades are still up at Pope Road and A1A Beach Blvd. But they should be coming down soon to allow free parking at the oceanfront. Work has been done grading the surface and parking spaces will more clearly marked for safety and access. A meeting with City, County, DEP, and Corps of Engineers was held to discuss extending parking east of the fenced area on Pope Rd. It was determined that the extra parking was not required to fulfill terms of the Federal Renourishment Grant and it would be very expensive to try to obtain permitting for that area to be used for parking. Approximately 30 spaces should be available before the start of the beach season.
At the conclusion of the January Civic Association meeting I announced that I would be stepping down as the President and that Vice President Bill Jones would take that position beginning in February. I have had the honor of leading the Civic Association for 12 years and am proud of the many accomplishments made since 2001 such as expanding the Farmers/Arts & Crafts Market from 6 to over 80 vendors; creating community and tourism events namely the Surf Illumination(11years), Music by the Sea Free Concerts (10years), Taste of the Beach(6 years); supporting/promoting local businesses with our Participating Merchant program (60+ businesses); increasing membership from less than 50 to over 450; adding to the quality of life here at the beach by donating to Arbor Day, Splash Park, Veterans Memorial, bocce courts, shade tree planting, public benches, A Street shower; giving financial support to other local non-profits; writing this column; and networking throughout the county to keep St. Augustine Beach involved with the many other entities and activities that go on in our busy tourist related county. Of course, I did not do this alone and wish to thank the many volunteers, Civic Association members and Board members who have all made this a better place to live.
Don't forget to visit the Wednesday Farmers/Arts & Crafts Market at the Pier Park. We always have new vendors joining the market. The produce is fresh, the food delicious and the shopping always unique. The market is open from 8:00am – 12:30pm. It's a great place to grab a quick bite, hear some music and enjoy the view. Free WIFI is always available and provided by the St. Augustine Beach Civic Association at the Pier.