CCA debates lighthouse; beach trash pickup

Published: Thursday, January 31, 2013 at 09:29 AM.

Coastal Community Association president Pat Hardman called it the elephant in the room

While a host of issues were raised and discussed during the nearly two-hour annual CCA membership meeting last Saturday at St. Joseph Country Club, the Cape San Blas Lighthouse and the decision by the U.S. Department of Interior to award the lighthouse and ancillary buildings to the City of Port St. Joe drew the most passionate debate.

In short, there did not seem, by a raise of hands, much support for the notion of taking the lighthouse off the cape and moving it into the city.

But, Hardman noted, the CCA had taken the issue about as far as it could.

A protest from the CCA to the Department of Interior, she said, was not taken up by the agency because the Board of County Commissioners – which joined the city as the only two applicants for the lighthouse – had written a letter that, in part, offers support to the city’s and its efforts to preserve the lighthouse.

Also coming under attack were the logistics of moving the lighthouse to the city. Noted during the meeting was that while the city has estimated the move at $300,000, it has applied for nearly $1 million in RESTORE Act funds to facilitate the move.

In addition, the consensus was that the move would destroy the history of a lighthouse that has sat on Cape San Blas for more than a century and skepticism that the city understood what it was taking on in attempting to move the lighthouse – which Hardman said would require two 40-ton cranes and a drive that would require covering nearly 30 miles using 13 Mile Road.

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