City Commission faces three major issues tonight

Historic City News readers will be interested in three major efforts on tonight’s City Commission agenda including a post office downtown without dozens of mail trucks, a partnership with the University of Florida and passenger rail service along the east coast with a station in St. Augustine.

Postal officials met with Mayor Joe Boles and Congressman John Mica recently to discuss a possible move of the King Street – ML King Avenue post office from its current location to new space to be constructed on an outparcel at the Ponce de Leon Mall on US-1 south of town.

The proposal would move the central mail distribution to the mall, but leave a retail location in the downtown area. Flagler College is interested in purchasing and converting the current property into a Communications Department for the school.

Commissioners will be updated on discussions with the University of Florida for a partnership to improve the heritage program and with the National Park Service to build a Castillo Orientation Center in the Colonial Spanish Quarter.

At issues, the university has state legislative authority to take over management of 34 state-owned historic properties here – including the Spanish Quarter. The city, with a solid business plan developed by new Heritage Tourism Director Dana Ste. Claire, wants to continue management with the support of university’s academic programs.

Continuing efforts to get federal funding for passenger rail service will be reported by Commissioner Nancy Sikes-Kline, the commission’s representative on the North Florida Transportation Organization. A recent Amtrak “inspection train” ran the proposed route from Miami to Jacksonville, helping promote awareness throughout the region, and dozens of public workshops are in progress to beat a deadline for the federal fund application in July.

Photo credit: © 2010 Historic City News staff photographer

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