Submitted by Chip Ross
Fernandina Beach City Commissioner
August 29, 2018 – 9:00 a.m.
Recently the Army Corps of Engineers granted the City a permit that would allow the downtown marina to proceed with repairs. Since the Army Corps had changed its rules as to where structures could be placed near a Federal channel, the City’s present location of an attenuator (breakwater pier) was no longer legal. When it became clear that the City had to climb some pretty insurmountable hurdles to get it replaced in the same position, there were several individuals who pushed, pulled, and almost dragged the Army Corps of Engineers to grant the City’s permit. Without their dedication to the marina’s cause, the City would not have been able to take the first steps toward the marina’s recovery.
One of the most dedicated individuals to the marina’s cause was a local resident, Lyn Williams. As a Commissioner on the Board of the Federal Inland Navigation District (FIND) he guided the City through the Corps’ “variance” process. With determination and countless hours, he communicated with various members of the waterway communities and agencies, City staff, engineering, and various community members. The City’s permit application would not have gotten off the ground without his efforts.
In support of the City’s permit, Dale Martin, the City’s Manager, relentlessly and unremittingly coordinated the effort in calling and emailing the Army Corps to gain the permit and continuously coordinated the entire process. Along with Mr. Martin’s efforts, Mr. Buddy Jacobs, the City’s Lobbyist, effectively communicated and coordinated congressional support for the granting of the permit. Congressman Rutherford also took a personal interest in making the marina a priority. He attended several necessary key meetings and contacted the Corps multiple times.
Further, I would like to thank the Ocean Highway and Port Authority for expediting some necessary channel paperwork for the City’s permit, and Robert Semmes of ATM, the City’s marina engineering consultant. He immediately made it a priority to supply any additional requested technical information throughout the process.
Finally, I would be remiss in not thanking Mr. Tim Murphy, the Deputy District Engineer of the Army Corps of Engineers for the Jacksonville area. From the beginning he was extremely helpful in making the timely granting of the permit an Army Corps priority.
Without the diligent and time-consuming efforts of all of these individuals, the permit would not have been granted.
With greatest gratitude and respect, I thank you for your countless hours of effort and dedication.