Modern meets historic concerns for our city The city is tiptoing through historic guidelines to provide greater safety and cleanliness for its residents and visitors. To be presented to the Historic Architectural Review Board Thursday are plans to lower sections of the parking lot wall along Hypolita Street for greater vehicle visibility at accesses, and designs for wraps to disguise planned solar compacting trash receptacles at the Visitor Center and along St. George Street. “Staff does not provide recommendations for city projects and looks to HARB for review and comment,”, Historic Preservation Planner Kelli Mitchell noted on both applications. Hypolita Street wall Redesign of the Hypolita Street wall was continued from March meeting. HARB members at the time questioned noted the unknown history of the wall, questioned what amount of wall needed to be removed for safety purposes and considered totally removing sections of the wall, rather than shortening them. trash receptacle wraps And the city will ask HARB to consider five examples of wraps for solar trash receptacles at the Visitor Center and along St. George Street. In December 2017, the Board approved a certificate of appropriateness for the receptacles, but asked that they be wrapped with a design approved by the Board. Five examples will be presented. “The City is requesting that the Board select a design that they feel is appropriate for placement of the trash cans on St. George Street and the VIC only,” the application states. “If additional trash cans are to be placed in other HP districts the City would come before the Board again to seek approval for a design.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  
June 19 2019
Keepers of the Coast “Day After” Cleanup Keepers of the Coast, a local non- profit dedicated to promoting coastal stewardship and conservation, is recruiting volunteers, sponsors, and adoptees for the 10th Annual “Day After” Beach Cleanup Friday, July 5 from 8:30 - 10:30 am. The purpose of the cleanup is to restore the coastline following the impacts of Fourth of July, traditionally one of the busiest beach days of the year. Sites are available for adoption include Mickler’s Beachfront Park, Vilano Beachfront Park, St. Johns Pier and A St. Beach Access Details at
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History’s Highlight Battle of Bloody Marsh The Battle of Bloody Mose in 1740, reenacted last weekend at Fort Mose, was followed by a second British attempt to capture St. Augustine in early 1742, thwarted by the guns of Fort Matanzas south of the presidio. Spanish forces took the battle to the English in Georgia, resulting in the Battle of Bloody Marsh July 7, 1742. An account drawn from Our Georgia History The story of the Battle of Bloody Marsh is the story of two forts, Fort St Simon and Fort Frederica, which lay about 7 miles apart on St. Simon Island. Between the two a "military road" ran, a path one wagon wide, along which the army and nearby settlers in Frederica could receive supplies from Ft. St. Simon. The battle was for the British fortifications of Fort Frederica and Fort St. Simons, with the strategic goal the sea routes and inland waters they controlled. With the victory, the Province of Georgia established undisputed claim to the island. Manuel de Montiano, governor of La Florida (Spanish Florida) rode the tide into St. Simon on July 5, sailing under the firing guns at Fort St. Simon, bypassing the fort and landing more than 50 ships near higher ground (Gascoigne Bluff). Oglethorpe withdrew from the fort before the Spanish could mount an attack. With some 3,000 troops of his estimated force of 4,500, Montiano took the fort the following day and began to scout the island on foot for Oglethorpe and his men. They quickly found the military road between Fort St. Simon and Fort Frederica, but dismissed it as a farmer's path. The Spanish began searching the leeward side of the island, completely ignorant of the existence of Frederica. After realizing their mistake, Montiano ordered more than 100 men to scout the road, looking for evidence of English forces or Frederica. Oglethorpe had chosen Frederica because of its location - it was surrounded by marsh, and there were only two ways to attack by land, through the dense forest to the north of Frederica or along the military road to the south of Frederica. Sticking to a defense planned 8 years earlier, Oglethorpe stationed a small group of Highlanders, Rangers and marines under the command of Noble Jones to defend the road. Jones caught the Spanish skirmishers at the head of the formation by surprise. Jones ordered his men to fall back as he rode off to find Oglethorpe. When notified of the engagement, Oglethorpe, according to legend, jumped on the first available horse and rode off down the road to St. Simons. At Gully Hole Creek, Oglethorpe halted the orderly retreat of Jones' combined force and led them in an attack against the advancing Spanish, routing de Montiano's men in a furious battle. Knowing the Spanish would continue the attack, Oglethorpe followed the retreating enemy to an open area in a marsh. Placing his men carefully around the open field as the Spanish regrouped, Oglethorpe left to rally more support. A much larger Spanish force appeared and engaged Oglethorpe's men. The colonists tore into the superior Spanish force, forcing them into a haphazard retreat. Harking back to the British defeat in the Battle of Bloody Mose, this was called the battle of Bloody Marsh.
North end of San Marco in resurfacing project Resurfacing of San Marco Avenue from Picolata Street (SR 16) to US 1 north is part of a resurfacing project in the north city Fullerwood area getting under way today. Included along with San Marco are Rainey and Douglas avenues and Grant, Center and Pacific streets. When San Marco Avenue, a state highway, was resurfaced last year from King to Picolata Street it was determined the northernmost stretch is city-owned, so it wasn’t included and the city added the resurfacing to its budget. The resurfacing will continue weekdays through Friday, June 28, from 8 am to 4 pm. Vehicles parked on the street obstructing resurfacing work could be towed at the owner’s expense. Other sections of the Fullerwood neighborhood were resurfaced last year and the city contractor will move next to Lincolnville.
City budget meetings continue through summer City officials have long bemoaned the lack of public participation in annual city budget discussions. Here is a list of upcoming Commission meetings during which next year’s budget will be considered. Some are special meetings while others will have budget discussions as part of a regular meeting's agenda. All meetings will be held in The Alcazar Room, City Hall, 75 King Street, and will be available for live and on-demand viewing on Monday, June 24, 3 pm (Special Meeting): Discussion of the 2020 budget assumptions with a focus on revenues. Monday, July 8, 5 pm (Regular Meeting): Adoption of the proposed millage rate and other budget-related resolutions if needed. Monday, August 12, 3 pm (Special Meeting): Additional discussion of the 2018 budget assumptions and the five-year Capital Improvement Plan. Monday, August 12, 5 pm (Regular Meeting): Public hearing on budget-related resolutions as necessary. Thursday, August 22, 9 am (Special Meeting): Discussion and Approval of FY2020 proposed budget and action items. Meeting may be continued to next day if necessary to cover all items. Thursday, September 5, 5 pm (Special Meeting): Initial public hearing for FY2020 budget and tentative millage rate adoption. Thursday, September 19, 5 pm (Special Meeting): Final public hearing for FY2020 budget and tentative millage rate adoption.
County Commission OKs fare increase for Sunshine Buses The St. Johns County Commission Tuesday approved doubling daily fares for the Sunshine Bus line in an effort to close the gap in the public transit system’s budget. The rate increase takes effect August 1. One-way daily fare will increase from $1 to $2, the discounted base fare offered to senior citizens and students from $.50 to $1, daily passes from $2 to $4, and discounted daily passes from $1 to $2. Fares for the “white bus” paratransit buses for non- emergency medical and other transportation needs for disabled and low-income individuals are not affected. The approval came in a 3-1 vote with Commissioner Henry Dean opposed. An earlier motion for a 50 percent fare increase was defeated in a 2-2 vote.  County Administrator Michael Wanchick said the cities of St. Augustine and St. Augustine Beach have not responded to a request to help fund the bus line, one official noting the cities already pay county taxes. In March, the County Commission approved an extra $102,000 in funding but asked the St. Johns County Council on Aging which runs the bus system to seek other sources of revenue. Council on Aging Executive Director Becky Yanni says the per-ride rate hasn’t increased in the nearly two decades the system has operated. “We’ve been loathe to increase the fares, and we don’t want to negatively impact the population we serve,” Yanni says. “But we’ve come to the point now where that is a necessity.”