Betty McNeill did indeed speak for south Gulf County regarding the Cape San Blas Lighthouse and the preservation of its long history on Cape San Blas in a recent article in The Star.
The Cape San Blas Lighthouse is just that; The Cape San Blas Lighthouse not the Port St. Joe cornerstone for the city’s newest tourist marketing efforts. The current plans to develop a tourist destination on the waterfront sounds good enough to stand alone. To move the lighthouse that far, would look like insanity to anybody outside of the area, when a site in a developed beautiful park with a prehistoric dune structure on the Gulf of Mexico is located a stones throw from the present location, in an area of the beach that has pretty well accreted for over 100 years
As one of the many business owners in south Gulf County that will be directly impacted by removing the lighthouse and the hundreds of visitors that it draws to the Cape San Blas/Indian Pass and Simmons Bayou areas each year, we all will be directly impacted as will all of the other ones. It should remain on the Cape; it is the peninsula that suffers severe erosion not the Cape of San Blas and the lighthouse/keepers cottages could survive in that location.
We are sure there are some people involved in the city’s efforts to relocate the Lighthouse that are genuinely concerned about saving it and to those people we say thank you for your help. Would you feel the same as the residents of Cape San Blas/Indian Pass/Simmons Bayou do at the moment if we moved your Centennial Building to our area; you'd lose your historical artifact/tourist draw and the cornerstone of your history.
The Cape San Blas Lighthouse is the beacon of the history of Cape San Blas and should be preserved by relocating to Salinas Park, not moving it to Port St. Joe. Gulf County Commissioners should use the recently improved Salinas Park as the Lighthouse location and make good use of the public monies already spent there recently, and allow the city to save all the new monies required to move it to Port St. Joe for better use in the city’s development of its waterfront.
The Historical Society may have not thought through their agreeing to the move in their desperation to grab the first hand offered to help when it became clear that the Lighthouse was endangered, but we think they should reconsider and ask why the grant was written for a Port St. Joe location and not the easy and less expensive transition to Salinas Park when a Cape location is more accurate in preserving history; and isn't that why they were created.
The Gulf County Commissioners need to get busy and work with the Historical Society to fix this wrong, because at this point commissioners have only complicated the situation and failed to represent the best interests of the people they were elected to represent, as Mrs. McNeill made so abundantly clear.
Marie Steele and Joey Romanelli