Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Not So Quiet Anymore St. Marys Still in the Spotlight after Article

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Not So Quiet Anymore St. Marys Still in the Spotlight after Article

Article excerpt

ST. MARYS -- Many residents used to describe St. Marys as

"Mayberry by the Sea."

Comparing the Southeast Georgia city to Mayberry, the fictional

town popularized by The Andy Griffith Show, might have been

justified. Both had quiet streets, a low crime rate and a

laid-back atmosphere.

Although St. Marys still has a low crime rate and an easy-going

feeling, its streets are not so quiet nowadays. Not since the

April 1996 edition of Money magazine gave the city a new

nickname: "No. 1 Small Boomtown" in the nation.

Since the magazine hit newsstands, inquiries from people

interested in moving to St. Marys have deluged city officials

and real estate agents.

"It's a year later, and people are still calling," said Sherry

Schlosser, an associate broker with Prudential Magnolia Realty

in St. Marys.

"I just met the other day with a person from Maryland who plans

to relocate here in two years," she said. "He liked the small

town atmosphere, the clean subdivisions and the friendliness of

the people." The magazine story portrayed St. Marys as a sleepy

Georgia seacoast town that "offers a beguiling mix of natural

beauty, lovingly preserved historic buildings and a steadily

expanding economy, owing chiefly to 18-year-old Kings Bay Naval

Submarine Base."

Patti Straus of Money magazine said the publication does not

plan to do a similar story this year.

St. Marys has been one of the nation's fastest-growing cities

since 1979, when the Navy opened a Trident submarine base there.

The city's population has skyrocketed to 23,702 -- a 51 percent

increase -- since 1990, according to the magazine article.

And interest in the city hasn't waned in the past year.

The city has run out of 25,000 informational brochures printed

in November. The brochures include the Money article and are

distributed to visitor centers on Interstate 95 and mailed to

callers seeking information, said Janet Brinko, St. Marys

tourism director.

When John Kennedy Jr. got married on Cumberland Island in

September, the spotlight was thrust on St. …

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