Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

County Gathers Cash for Improving Park; Nassau: Goffinsville Will Receive Upgrade

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

County Gathers Cash for Improving Park; Nassau: Goffinsville Will Receive Upgrade

Article excerpt

Byline: Alison Trinidad, Nassau Neighbors staff writer

The clouds darkened as the skies rumbled Tuesday afternoon, and the few anglers fishing off Goffinsville Park quickly packed up their belongings. Three Fernandina Beach teenagers didn't catch much before the storm hit, but they said they're sure to be back.

They've fished the Nassau River from the same shore since they were children.

"You just seem to catch bigger fish," Kim Watkins, 16, said.

With a high bluff and deep-river access, the 19-acre oak hammock on the Nassau River already is a favorite fishing spot among residents. And with help from several state environmental protection programs, Nassau County plans to make it more than just a fishing hole.

The county recently received $200,000 in grant money from the Florida Recreation Development Assistance Program, a competitive program that provides grants for public outdoor recreation. Combined with a $485,000 grant from the Florida Communities Trust and $240,000 from county coffers, the award will be used to add more amenities to the county park.

The park has several walking trails and a natural boat ramp. The county plans to improve the boat launch and trail system and create displays describing the area's environment and history.

The project includes the construction of a single-lane boat ramp, a fishing pier, a tot-lot playground, picnic areas, restrooms, gravel parking areas and a half-mile trail system. All facilities will be handicapped-accessible, according to a county news release.

"This endeavor will support special programs to broaden public participation in outdoor recreation, improve recreational access for those with physical or mental disabilities and encourage volunteerism," the news release said.

The county purchased the property two years ago for $1.2 million with help from the Trust for Public Land, a national non-profit group that specializes in conservation real estate.

Yulee resident James Glover, a recreational fisherman, appreciates the county's efforts to protect the area, his only fishing spot.

"If the county hadn't bought this, it'd all be gone," Glover said. …

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