Submitted by Suanne Z. Thamm
Reporter – News Analyst
May 4, 2022
The family of the late Fernandina Beach architect John Cotner was present at the May 3, 2022 Fernandina Beach City Commission (FBCC) meeting to accept a City Proclamation expressing the City’s profound condolences to the family on his passing. In reading the Proclamation, Mayor Mike Lednovich listed the many ways in which Cotner had served the City and left his mark as one of the City’s most prolific architects.
Cotner served on City of Fernandina Beach, Nassau County, greater Northeast Florida, and Southeast Georgia advisory boards, committees, and architectural review boards. He also served on the Beach Parks Planning Committee, Building Department Investigative Committee, Island Trail Committee, Island Wide Comprehensive Plan Committee, Main Beach Planning Committee, Nassau County ACHIEVE, Nassau County Committee of 100, Nassau County Contractor’s Review Board, Nassau County YMCA Board of Directors, Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee, Waterfronts Florida Partnership, Amelia Park Architectural Review Board, Osprey Cove Architectural Review Board, Parkway Properties Architectural Review Board, and the Piney Island Architectural Review Board.
The extensive scope of architectural design services Mr. Cotner provided to the City includes, but is not limited to, the following vital projects: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Center restrooms and pavilion, Centre Street restrooms, Public Works administration facility, Peck Center landscaping and window replacement, historic Railroad Depot, parking lots C and D, North Beach Park, Seaside Park, Waterfront Park, and the Central Park little league and pop warner facilities.
In 2014, Mr. Cotner was presented with the prestigious Preservation Champion Award in recognition of over twenty-five years of diligent advocacy for Historic Preservation in the City of Fernandina Beach. Later this month, the Preservation Champion Award will be renamed in honor of Mr. Cotner’s legacy.
Mayor Lednovich concluded the Proclamation with the following: “Mr. Cotner’s indelible mark within our community is truly unrivaled. Fernandina Beach is a better place due to his indomitable spirit and keen influence. His legacy helped shape our island into the crown jewel that so many enjoy today.”
John Cotner’s widow Debby accepted the proclamation on behalf of the family. She thanked the FBCC and said, “John wasn’t much for awards and accolades, but we his family appreciate this very much. He loved this community. All he ever wanted to do his entire life was to make a difference, and I believe he did.”