BOCC debates lighthouse award; sets EDC workshop

Published: Monday, January 14, 2013 at 09:40 AM.

The Board of County Commissioners voted unanimously to send a letter to the National Parks Service stating that the county would work with the city of Port St. Joe on the relocation of the Cape San Blas Lighthouse.

But the letter would also highlight that if the city is unable to fund and perform the relocation to a proposed BayPark the county still had an interest in moving the lighthouse to Salinas Park.

The discussion was spurred by several residents of Cape San Blas and Indian Pass who dissented to the National Parks Service decision to award the lighthouse to the city.

The BOCC had also submitted an application for the lighthouse – the city and county were the only two applicants – but the National Parks Service in a letter stated that the city’s proposal was the more attractive.

“Thank you for trying to keep the Cape San Blas Lighthouse on the cape, we have been out-lobbied by the city,” said Pat Hardman, president of the Coastal Community Association. “We just didn’t get out and lobby that we had a safer place.”

Hardman noted that the county had a lease with the U.S. Air Force – which declared the lighthouse and grounds surplus early last year – that spanned until 2029 and that the county had provided annual upkeep and insured the lighthouse and grounds for recreational activities.

She said the cost to move the lighthouse to Salinas Park was estimated at half that to move the structures into the city and that Port St. Joe Mayor Mel Magidon’s “legacy could become the mayor’s folly.”

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