Candidates and the Arts: Leanna Freeman


The arts are an integral part of a tourists experience because it separates St. Augustine from other tourist destinations. We must offer activities and experiences which will make repeat visitors of our tourists. A returning visitor not only brings disposable dollars
but is a potential investor in our community. For this reason the City and County must give priority to cultural activities and arts and should support them with funding. We should explore raising the bed tax to support the arts. However, an increase can only be
made if it will not have a detrimental impact on our area hotels and inns.


St. Augustine is widely known for its “European feel,” which comes from a variety of characteristics such as our small brick streets, architecture, history etc. Outdoor entertainment and the potential for outdoor dining have all but been abolished under current restrictions and ordinances. The majority of visitors, business owners and residents want to see quality entertainment and artists on our streets as well as have the opportunity to dine “al fresco” near a public street or sidewalk. Modifications to our current policies should be explored conjunctively by artists, business owners and residents. I believe that by implementing temporary modifications such as, limited times and places to allow tables on the street and specific spots for artists and entertainers, we
will commit to making changes while working out problems which arise during the experimental period.


The success of our creative industries, not only impacts various successes of our community but it also impacts our quality of life, which is my campaign theme. The success of the Amphitheater has improved the quantity and quality of arts in our area. While the impact is felt financially by local restaurants and hotels, the artistic opportunity is felt by our residents who enjoy the experience while supporting the industry. I propose making our entrance corridors a priority for landscaping and underground utilities will improve areas such as the uptown San Marco Area and King Street, where many of our local artists are currently located and contributing to our creative community.