Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Focus 450 Working to Aid Legacy Projects; Nonprofit Group Raises Funds for Anniversary of St. Augustine's Founding

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Focus 450 Working to Aid Legacy Projects; Nonprofit Group Raises Funds for Anniversary of St. Augustine's Founding

Article excerpt

Byline: Sheldon Gardner

A replica bastion wall, new lighting underneath the Bridge of Lions and a touchable art garden are a few of the projects that could get a boost from Focus 450.

The nonprofit group is working in concert with the city of St. Augustine to raise money for legacy projects for the 450th anniversary of St. Augustine's founding in 2015.

Focus 450 has named eight projects it wants to help, including the construction of a replica bastion wall at the Fort Mose property, renovation of St. Augustine's American Legion and the construction of a children's museum.

"We can only do so many, and this is the first complete list we've released," said Jim Browning, Focus 450 president. "This is kind of our coming-out party."

Browning said a few more projects could be added.

The goal is to help projects that will have a lasting impact on the city and that enhance the experience of residents and visitors, as previous projects have, he said.

He remembered seeing pieces of the large cross, now at the Mission Nombre de Dios, coming into town on trucks. The installation took place in the 1960s.

"Like when I was a kid, the great cross went up," he said. "And it's been a skyline fixture of St. Augustine."

Near where the cross stands, work is being completed on a replica chalupa, a 16th-century vessel used for fishing and to ferry cargo from larger ships.

Focus 450 named the efforts of the St. Augustine Maritime Heritage Foundation at the park as one of the projects it will help.

Roy Jaeger, vice president of the foundation, said volunteers are working on building the chalupa and a 16th-century boatyard. Historic boat building is just one part of the project.

A boathouse has been built, and a shipwright's house is nearly complete.

"We are authentic," Jaeger said.

Jaeger said part of the effort is creating maritime education programs, things like having youth help maintain the chalupa or help sail it. …

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