By KIMEKO MCCOY
The projects may be different but the folks in St. Augustine’s hearts are still in the same place. Nancy Sikes-Kline, city commissioner, said the most important aspect of the 400th commemoration versus the 450th commemoration is its inclusiveness.
“To me,” Sikes-Kline said, “that’s the most important part of it so far.”
For the 400th, there were a lot of different things being put together but after seeing those things done, it seems organizations in the community today have followed suit and done their own projects to commemorate the city’s anniversary.
All sorts of projects are popping up, Sikes-Kline said. It really sparked a passion in people.
Focus 450 Vice President, Weeks, said all of the Legacy Projects are good ideas, but the organization understands that the 450th celebration may not be as sizeable as the 400th.
The 400th is four centuries and it won’t be until the 500th celebration that it becomes half of a millennium, but Weeks said the celebration is still a big deal.
“We do think we can do something that will leave a lasting effect on St. Augustine,” Weeks said.
Other Legacy Projects include The St. Augustine Art Association Exterior Renovation and TOUCH Art Garden, Maritime Heritage Legacy, tag! Children’s Museum of St. Augustine, Tolomato Cemetery, and the illumination of the Bridge of Lions.
450th legacy projects
Menorcan Pocket Park
Hypolita Street will be completed before the Nights of Lights and the Menorcan Pocket Park project will be complete by April of next year, just in time for the 450th celebration.
A big part of St. Augustine is Menorcan culture and those of Menorcan decent so when there was an opportunity to bring the two even closer together, a legacy project was created. The project, also known as Menorcan Pocket Park, is being developed on the corner of Hypolita and Spanish Streets.
Len Weeks, who is heading up the project, said the park is a little piece in town that will be fixed up and beautified for the 450th.
He wanted to create something that would last way after the festivities of the 450th were over and thought the pocket park would be his best bet.
In addition to the pocket park is the reconstruction of Hypolita Street. The street will be seeing renovations that will allow the downtown area of St. Augustine to enjoy more modern-day technologies and an overall better look.
Fort Bastion Wall
About $10,000 has been raised for Fort Mose Historical State Park’s Bastion Wall and that means there’s about $90,000 left.
Fort Mose Historic State Park has a ton of historical significance being that it was the first legally sanctioned free African settlement in the U.S.
Time and time again, the fort’s strength has been tested through sieges and battles.
Today, it stands to represent the men and women who inhabited it 275 years ago.
As a legacy project, the goal of Fort Mose Historic State Park is to reconstruct an interpretation of the wood and earthen bastion wall that was built in 1738 and stood until it was destroyed in 1740 due to a British Attack on St. Augustine.
The recreation of the wall would offer a more complete experience for those visiting the fort.
Thomas Jackson, Fort Mose Historical Society vice president, said, “It’s a simple concept. We just want to make things look a little more realistic.”
American Legion Post 37
American Legion Post 37 will be home to the event that will kick off next year’s big celebration with a military ball in January.
The thing that makes the American Legion Post 37 so important is that it is home to veterans. Of course veterans are a very important part of American society but in thinking of St. Augustine, it’s even more special.
Since St. Augustine’s inception, Ron Birchall president of Forward March said, there has always been a military presence here. Although there were different nationalities through the time periods, the protection of the military was always present.
Now, to commend that military presence, Forward March is working to have post 37 restored to serve two missions: The community and the military.
Construction has already started on the building and when the building’s finished, it’ll serve the community as a social hub as well as a welcome center for active duty personnel.
Birchall said the price tag is estimated at $2 million and so far, $300,000 has been raised.