Historic City News learned that City of St. Augustine Public Affairs Director Paul Williamson addressed the Flagler Model Land Neighborhood Association last week.
The meeting, which was held at Opus 39, was part of the city’s community outreach program to develop a comfortable management plan for use of Francis Field.
According to an article that appeared in this week’s St. Augustine Report, neighbors who attended made it clear that they had no interest in an exhibit center building on Francis Field.
Williamson told the gathering of about 30 residents that the exhibit center was never a “formal proposal” and, besides, there’s no money for it.
Williamson and City Commissioner Nancy Sikes-Kline, who also participated, were told by neighbors to scale down events and keep the neighborhood association “in the loop” on decisions affecting the neighborhood — both at Francis Field and in planning for the 450th Anniversary.
Input was given by neighbors on the recent Crawfish Boil that neighbors say was the loudest event in recent history.
“Feedback collected at this meeting will help in designing a Francis Field plan” Williamson said.
Lincolnville resident Albert Syeles discussed the idea of a Charleston Spoleto-style arts festival to be held here.
Williamson noted that some downtown businesses are concerned that Francis Field events may draw business away from them.
“A Spoleto-style arts festival is intended to have multiple, smaller events scattered at venues all over downtown — to get people to walk around, as well as some large events,” Syeles said.
Both Williamson and Sikes-Kline said they’ve experienced such festivals in other cities and agreed they “have the right effect.”