Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Pumping New Life into Mayport

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Pumping New Life into Mayport

Article excerpt

From behind the fish cooler at Joe's Crab House, Susan Tuttle

envisions the Mayport community of the future -- a place

bustling with visitors, dotted with cozy riverside restaurants

and shops, all set against the backdrop of this quaint fishing

village.

Then, as she begins to fillet a fresh flounder, Tuttle turns

her attention to the reality of today.

"When you pull into a place that looks like a slum, you don't

want to stick around," she said, offering a somewhat

unflattering perspective on an aging community a little worn

around the edges. "If everyone would clean up, people would come

out here."

That's what state and local officials are hoping, and yesterday

they announced a $35,000 project aimed at coming up with a plan

to breathe new life into Mayport.

At a meeting aboard the Mayport Ferry, the secretary of the

state Department of Community Affairs, Jim Murley, named Mayport

one of three communities to receive help through the

"Waterfronts Florida" program. The others are St. Andrews near

Panama City and San Carlos Island in Lee County.

The communities receive $35,000 over two years and technical

assistance to organize, visualize and implement their

revitalization plans.

With the help of a full-time director, a committee of

residents, business owners, stage agency and local government

representatives will draw a blueprint for Mayport's future.

"In the end, what you try to do is get more money. What the

secretary's doing is really opening the door for us," said

Jacksonville Mayor John Delaney. "We're trying to use this as a

gateway to get more funds to help us develop this area in an

environmentally friendly fashion and a culturally acceptable

fashion."

Previous efforts to rejuvenate Mayport have met with limited

success. …

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