CCA launches campaign to scuttle lighthouse donation

Courtesy of Debbie Hooper at
Published: Thursday, May 1, 2014 at 10:33 AM.

With the Florida Legislature winding down its annual legislative session with consideration of the budget in the coming days, the Coastal Community Association is ramping up its campaign to keep the Cape San Blas Lighthouse on the cape.

Specifically, the CCA is focusing on a $200,000 state appropriation which is currently in the budget to help the city of Port St. Joe “save” the lighthouse.

“This is not just pork, but spoiled pork in our state budget,” said Pat Hardman, president of the CCA in an email to association members and South Gulf County residents.

Hardman requested that CCA members and other interested parties phone or email the county’s legislative delegation earlier this week to protest the appropriation and ask for its exclusion from the budget.

The appropriation was among those cited in a recent Associated Press story outlining some of the local projects lawmakers have earmarked funding for given a budget surplus that has been estimated at more than $1 billion.

If passed by the full Legislature, this year’s appropriation would be in addition to a $325,000 appropriation secured for the lighthouse relocation last year by State Sen. Bill Montford (D-Tallahassee).

This year’s appropriation, which was placed in the budget by Rep. Jimmy Patronis (R-Panama City Beach) who no longer represents Gulf County, appears targeted to defray the costs for downing Duke Energy power lines to accommodate the relocation of the lighthouse and ancillary buildings – two keepers’ quarters and an oil house – from the cape to a Port St. Joe park.

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