National Heritage Area effort continues

According to an article published in The St. Augustine Report and received by Historic City News this morning, the continuing effort to create a National Heritage Area in St. Augustine has brought in Historic Preservation Officer and Board Chair of the Santa Cruz Valley Heritage Alliance Dr. Jonathan Mabry of Tucson AZ.

Mabry spoke last week before our Historic St. Augustine Area Council, co-hosted by the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum.

The Lighthouse and Guana Reserve have been spearheading a move for such national designation, not surprisingly proposed to be the Nation’s Oldest Port National Heritage Area. Dr. Mabry extolled the economic value of the program to the business group, but noted as well the social values of preserving an area’s natural and cultural heritage.

“It’s not an easy designation to gain” reported former Mayor and City Commissioner George Gardner. Santa Cruz has been at it for five years, developing the necessary feasibility plan to qualify. That proposed area encompasses more than 3,000 square miles in Santa Cruz and eastern Pima County – two counties, seven incorporated cities and towns, and two Native American tribal reservations. The effort has a $100,000 annual budget to support a director and programs – funded largely by area governments.

City Commissioner Nancy Sikes-Kline was among those on hand for the presentation. Proposed for our area: the eastern watershed from Ponte Vedra to Flagler County.

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