BOCC considers Amelia Island Museum request to change “Old Jail” deed

By Cindy Jackson
October 28, 2018 3:44 p.m.

Amelia Island Museum of History is located in the former “Nassau County Jail.” Photo credit A.I. Museum of History

The Amelia Island Museum of History was an agenda item at the October 22nd meeting of the Nassau County Board of County Commissioners. Its place on the agenda was a result of correspondence sent from Museum executive director Phyllis Davis to county attorney Michael Mullin in July earlier this year.

That letter of July 18, contained a very simple request asking for the removal of a reverter clause in the deed executed between the BOCC and the Museum and signed on August 20, 1997. A reverter clause, as explained by thelawdictionary.org, is “the provision in a deed transfer where the property transferred is reverted to the grantor if a deed condition becomes violated.” In this case, the current deed states “said property shall revert back to Nassau County in the event that same is no longer used for purposes of a Museum.”

In a memo to members of the county commission, Mullin notes “the value and contributions of the Museum and its value to the County are substantial,” providing justification for the removal of the reverter clause.

In the letter from Davis to Mullin, the objective was clearly stated that the Museum was making such a request so that in the event the Museum could find a larger location proceeds from the sale of the property could be used to help fund the possible acquisition of a new building and other expenses associated with relocation and renovations. The annual operating budget for the Museum averages $370,000. Last year, the Museum hosted 26,000 visitors.

In Mullin’s memo to commission members outlining the issue, he recommended the request be considered and staff be authorized to negotiate an agreement with the Museum regarding the use of funds from a sale.

The motion was unanimously approved 5-0 effectively authorizing the commencement of negotiations and the advertising of a public hearing.

Reached after the commission meeting, Museum director Davis was anxious to put to rest any rumors about the Museum moving, stating, “The Amelia Island Museum of History requested the BOCC remove a reverter clause contained in the 1997 deed to the building. The request was purely a housekeeping measure put into motion by the Board of Trustees. The Museum has no plans to move from its current location where it has resided since 1979.”

Known as The Old Jail, the assessed value of the property located at 233 S. 3rd Street is $753,830.00 according to the Nassau County Property Appraiser’s Office. Built in 1938, the building has over 8,400 square feet of space.

While the first location of the Museum was the Old Train Depot, it has been at its current location since 1979 and underwent a major renovation in 2003.

For more information about the Amelia Island Museum of History, current and upcoming exhibits and other special events, visit their website at http://ameliamuseum.org.

Editor’s Note: Born in Hagerstown, Maryland, Cindy received her BA in Political Science from Dickinson College. Upon graduation, Cindy began her career on Capitol Hill working as a legislative aide and director.  She later became a part of the public relations and lobbying team of the American Iron and Steel Institute and  served as director of the office of state legislative affairs for the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA).  Cindy was involved in economic development with the state of Maryland, and served as executive director of Leadership Washington County.

As community volunteer, Cindy participates in numerous volunteer activities serving as a member of  Sunrise Rotary, and as board member of Cummer Amelia Board of Directors.


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