Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

People Coming in from Miles around New Residents Love the Beaches

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

People Coming in from Miles around New Residents Love the Beaches

Article excerpt

This weekend, residents celebrate the 50th anniversary of the

parade marking the opening of the beach, the narrow strip of

sand that draws visitors from all over the country.

Many times, those visitors decide to stay.

Many newcomers to the Beaches praise the area for its beauty

and small-town charm. Yet they fear that the same things that

attracted them to the area will attract even more people and

lead to uncontrolled development.

"This is just the most beautiful beach in Florida," said Elaine

Smith, who moved to Jacksonville Beach in 1991. From her condo

overlooking the ocean she said she loves "watching the

ever-changing water. It's just fabulous."

The Iowa native first came to Jacksonville Beach nearly 20

years ago and in subsequent years stayed in a condominium during

the winter. In 1991, she moved into the condominium permanently.

Smith said she has watched traffic increase and forests

decrease in the face of development. However, she said, it would

be selfish to block out development all together to preserve the

smalltown feel of the area.

WJKS TV-17 news anchor Terry Casey, a three-year Jacksonville

Beach resident, would probably agree.

"This is an area residents would like to keep hidden," he said,

"but the good things are not hidden for very long."

Originally from Madeira Beach on Florida's Gulf coast, Casey's

broadcasting career has taken him to Atlanta, Santa Ana, Calif.,

Virginia Beach, Va., and Charleston, S.C. He said it was the

geography of the Beaches, with the ocean on one side and the

Intracoastal Waterway on the other, that attracted him.

"One of the attractions is water," Casey said. "Living on the

water has always been special to me."

Citing the recent demolition of his mailbox, apparently by a

group of rowdy youths, Casey said that he would like to see more

places were young people can have "good, clean fun."

He also said he does not want the Beaches to end up like his

hometown, Madeira Beach. During recent visits, he said, he could

recognize the streets, but much of it had been radically changed

by development. …

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