Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Mayport Group Asks for City's Help Again; Waterfront Partnership Wants Administrative Support from Jacksonville

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Mayport Group Asks for City's Help Again; Waterfront Partnership Wants Administrative Support from Jacksonville

Article excerpt

Byline: DREW DIXON

MAYPORT - Now that the dust has settled at least temporarily on a cruise ship terminal issue, the Mayport Waterfront Partnership wants to rebuild its working relationship with Jacksonville.

The board, which was set up to advise the Jacksonville City Council on Mayport issues, is asking the city to resume administrative help that ended last year.

Partnership board members unanimously approved a resolution Tuesday to send letters to Mayor John Peyton and City Council President Ronnie Fussell asking for continued administrative support.

"I believe we need more support from Jacksonville," said partnership Chairman Gary Crumley. "We're rebuilding the bridges between [Mayport] and Jacksonville and Atlantic Beach."

When the partnership was formed in 1997 as part of a state program to protect historic waterfronts, the panel was assigned a liaison from Jacksonville's Planning Department. Planner Ed "Luke" Lukacovic held that position part-time since 1998, but he was reassigned in April in the midst of a growing dispute between the partnership and the city. The partnership opposed the Jacksonville Port Authority's planned cruise ship terminal along the community's waterfront.

Jacksonville Planning Department officials never clarified why Lukacovic was reassigned. But partnership board members said it was payback from the city because of the rift.

Now that the Port Authority announced this month it has put its terminal proposal on hold indefinitely, some partnership board members said it's time Jacksonville reinvest in the advisory board, which doesn't even have staff to take minutes of meetings.

"We know where we're going. But who are we and under what authority?" asked partnership member Carroll Huffines.

"We are an advisory board to the city of Atlantic Beach and the city of Jacksonville," said partnership board member Ben Tucker. "The city of Jacksonville [previously] furnished us an assistant. ... They should have to furnish us minimum administrative support" similar to other advisory boards for the city.

Until the City Council votes to disband the Waterfront Partnership, if that were to happen, Tucker said, they're obligated to provide governmental services. …

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