Editorial: Support the seawall improvements

Philosophically, I don’t always agree with other news editors in the area — sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t; however, when I do, I believe it’s appropriate to recognize where we agree since I’ve never been accused of being timid where we don’t.

I support the City’s effort, and the effort of others, to move forward with the south seawall improvements along the Matanzas River instead of kicking “the can” down the road, yet again.

The Department of Interior is addressing the seawall from the Bridge of Lions north to the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument and the City is responsible for the stretch from the Bridge southward. The proposed repairs and improvements will be south of the Santa Maria Restaurant down to the St. Francis Barracks.

The Record wrote today that they suggested the repairs and improvements should “be the city’s gift to the city” for its 450th birthday. I couldn’t agree more — and I could give you a list of expenditures by our City, in the last year alone, that could, and should, have gone toward funding the City’s $2 million share of the estimated $7.092 million cost.

Capital payments to purchase the car wash at King and Ponce, to purchase the MLK Boulevard crack-house, to prepay four-years of event planning to First America Foundation, among others, come to mind quickly.

No one person is responsible for these missteps, there is plenty of blame to go around, however, we appear to be firmly embracing the right path, this time, and I’m told by reliable sources, that we actually have a better-than-average chance of getting FEMA approval. Let’s hope they’re right.

The essential storm protection provided by the seawall benefits more than the few property owners along the bayfront, too. The entire downtown residential and business community, the historic and cultural districts of most interest to our visitors, will resemble New Orleans’ Lower 9th Ward when the decaying seawall fails.

If you agree and would like to show support to the people most able to favorably influence FEMA to approve this project, contact the following three officials:

Senator Bill Nelson (D- FL) 202-224-527 e-mail
Senator Marco Rubio (R- FL) 202-224-3041 e-mail
Representative John L. Mica (R – 07) 202-225-4035 e-mail

I have and I hope you will.

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