Port commissioners hone outreach campaign

Published: Thursday, September 5, 2013 at 10:09 AM.

The macro and the micro were identified last week as the Port St. Joe Port Authority board crafted a fundraising campaign.

Port Authority chairman Leonard Costin urged commissioners for more than a month to plan a community campaign aimed at providing the minimum operating capital for the coming fiscal year.

But commissioners also agreed with board member Eugene Raffield who said the state and federal governments need to be partners if the community is going to join the effort to develop the Port of Port St. Joe into an operating developer of the region’s economics.

“How can you ask the people of this town to support us if the powers that be won’t,” Raffield said. “There are lot of people hurting here. If our government isn’t going to back us, what are we doing here?

“This is a regional concept worth billions of dollars.”

The key in the short-term, Raffield said, is right in front of the Port Authority – dredging of the deepwater shipping channel.

With the expansion of the Panama Canal which should be completed in the next two years and the increase in traffic that already is bursting existing Florida ports at the seams, Raffield said there was real opportunity for the Port of Port St. Joe to become a beacon for smaller vessels, a niche port.

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