(Ed. Note: The following was read to the Board of County Commissioners last Tuesday)
Thank you for making the effort to keep the historic Cape San Blas Lighthouse on the Cape.
We believe the elected officials have dramatically underestimated the anger and frustration the South Gulf County residents and voters have in regard to the relocation to town, including many residents in the City, where they would prefer their City Commission to use their funds and efforts to give them clean water, affordable housing, flood control and management of their existing parks.
Unfortunately, the City out-maneuvered us when they got it deeded to them even though we feel the way this was done was unethical and immoral.
We have fought for over two years to save the history and lighthouse on the Cape but did not prevail. This is and was not about saving the lighthouse – that would be accomplished by moving it to Salinas Park. It was about our city fathers believing they can make financial gain by making it part of their amusement park overlooking the rooftops of town.
There are two issues.
Moving the lighthouse off the Cape which destroys its history is like moving the Wewahitchka Courthouse to be part of the city’s amusement park.
Second is the cost for taxpayers, all state, federal and local funds in the city or county’s coffers are taxpayer money. I had initially said the cost of moving would be $900,000-$1 million, the Mayor sent me a scathing email claiming the maximum cost was $325,000. To date over $700,000 has been spent or obligated and the units are not moved to town yet.
The City Commission does not know how much their bottom line really is. It will ultimately be close to the $1 million and continue to cost them in the future.
Now, the new state grant to the City will require that you (the BOCC) agree to the new location in town. We are not asking you to vote against that when you are asked by the City Commission.
We are asking you to pass a motion today simply stating that you believe the Cape San Blas Lighthouse should have remained on the Cape at Salinas Park and the county will not offer any financial or manpower support from any funds to move or provide future support to the City of St. Joe Lighthouse to the City.
Dr. Pat Hardman
President, Coastal Community Association
(Ed. Note: While not making any motion, county commissioners reiterated previously-stated positions against spending any money for the relocation of the lighthouse).