by: Max Royle, City of St. Augustine Beach
A resident concluded an August email with this postscript: “They [the City Commission] do NOTHING for the residents. I repeat, NOTHING!” Yes, she highlighted “nothing” with capital letters, which I’m told is the cyberworld’s equivalent of shouting. Below is my response to her shout. After 30-plus years working for our fair City, I’ve seen all, I mean ALL, that the City has done for the residents, and it’s hardly nothing, I mean NOTHING. But enough shouting. Time for quiet facts.
Drainage projects that have benefited residents: underground pipes along 5th Avenue between A and F streets, 2nd Avenue between C and 10th streets, Ocean Woods subdivision, Mickler Boulevard between Pope Road and 16th Street, and along 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th and C streets west of A1A Beach Boulevard. Storm water pumps and underground pipes in the Sandpiper Village and Linda Mar subdivisions. Replace underground pipe along 11th Street east of Mickler Boulevard. Construction of swales in the Ocean Oaks subdivision. Repairs to existing drainage pipes in the Woodland and Woodland Estate subdivisions.
Master storm water treatment pond: Thanks to the City Commission’s foresight, in 1996 the City obtained land and $650,000 from the Florida Department of Transportation to construct a retention pond and pumping station west of Mizell Road. The pond takes storm water from 700 acres of the City, many of them in residential areas.
Sidewalks/bike paths in residential areas: Mickler Boulevard, Old Beach Road, 5th Avenue, Pope Road, 16th, A and 11th Streets and Ocean Trace Road.
Beach restoration: Thanks to the leadership of Mayor Emmett Pacetti, the City Commission and U.S. House of Representative Tillie Fowler in the 1990s, the City has periodic restoration of the beach that protects RESIDENTIAL (oops, I shouted) properties along the shore from 16th Street to the northern boundary of Sea Colony and provides a beach for the enjoyment of residents and visitors.
Beach access: The construction of a 1700-foot long walkway between the Boulevard and the beach for the residents of the Whispering Oaks subdivision and Ocean Reef condos, and for visitors.
Parks: The purchase of land, such as Ocean Hammock Park, to provide open space for residents. The creation of Splash Park at the pier and Lakeside Park south of the police station for enjoyment by residents and visitors.
City services. An accredited Police Department that provides 24/7 response to calls from residents. A Public Works Department that weekly removes tons of waste for the residents, mows rights-of-way in residential areas and hires companies to repave RESIDENTIAL (I’m shouting again, my bad!) streets and repair sidewalks. A Building Department and city hall staff who respond quickly to residents’ requests for help.
My response to the email writer concluded with this observation: “What the above list shows is that over the years, dedicated City Commissioners and employees have provided many, many services to the residents and continue to do so. If that record is ‘nothing’ by your definition, then you are using a dictionary that has little relation to reality.”