Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Mayport Village Move May Be Hard to Sell

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Mayport Village Move May Be Hard to Sell

Article excerpt


MAYPORT - The suggestion of moving the entire Mayport village west to an island in the St. Johns River is drawing fire from some residents who say they want to stay put no matter what.

"They don't plan on moving me, I'll put it that way," said Dee Pack, who has lived in the historic fishing village all of his 52 years. "I've lived here all my life. I love it out here. ... I have 100,000 reasons I wouldn't want to move."

Pack's family owns Safe Harbor Seafood on the Mayport waterfront and the family also leases dock space to the SunCruz Casino gambling ship.

When he heard that Mayport Waterfront Partnership Chairman Dave Fisher suggested last week moving the entire village to Buck's Island to make way for a proposed cruise ship terminal in the village, Pack said he was outraged.

Fisher said July 15 that increasing numbers of Mayport village residents are interested in moving the enclave - about 70 homes on 80 acres - to Buck's Island. Fisher said it could make more sense to move the village instead of fighting the Jacksonville Port Authority proposal to build a $60 million cruise ship terminal along the village's waterfront.

Moving to the island has been suggested because it's near the ocean and Mayport, it's vacant and it has no environmental concerns.

The 126-acre spit of land is about 3 miles west of Mayport village on the south side of the river, accessible via Fort Caroline Road. The area is used as a dump site for spoils from JPA and Army Corps of Engineers dredge projects. Those agencies lease the land from the state.

"Why would I want to go move on a piece of land that was dredged up out of the river?" Pack asked.

Pack conceded many sections of Mayport village have fallen into disrepair and a new cruise ship terminal could help revitalize the area.

But even some members of the Waterfront Partnership, which is an advisory board to the Jacksonville City Council, are voicing opposition to the suggestion to move the village, which was established in 1562.

"Moving the historic village of Mayport is the most ridiculous idea I've heard of in a long time," partnership board member Claudia Estes wrote in a letter to Shorelines this week. …

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