Submitted by Suanne Z. Thamm
Reporter – News Analyst
August 4, 2015 2:05 p.m.

DSCN0046London Bridge is not the only structure falling down.  A quick look at the old Post Office building downtown Fernandina Beach shows a once-grand structure, laid low by the ravages of weather, time and neglect.  Just when many folks had given up hope that any help would be forthcoming from the United States Postal Service (USPS) to restore Fernandina’s historic Post Office building, the city received the following letter from USPS Federal Preservation Officer Daniel Delahaye:

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As of this writing, Fernandina Beach Community Development Director Adrienne Burke has been unable to contact Delahaye by phone, but not for lack of trying. Her immediate email response to Delahaye, who had tried to call her before sending the letter:

“… [A]fter initial review of the letter, my first reaction is complete joy! It will be so exciting and significant for this community to see this building brought back to life with an exterior rehabilitation.

“We do have a Historic District Council review process that I can explain when we connect. I believe most of the proposed work can be done at a staff-approval level; the only item which potentially would require Board approval is if windows have to be replaced. We can discuss. I’m also curious as to the timeline for the proposed renovations.

“This is honestly some of the best news I have received in a long time! The City will probably want to have a celebration party at the end (seriously!).”

Adam Kaufman, President of the Amelia Island Fernandina Restoration Foundation, Inc., emailed Burke: “This is great, if surprising news. The HDC (Historic District Council) with Jose [Miranda] as Chair given his participation in the 2011 architectural study is the perfect place for any needed review and citizen participation.  If there is anything that you believe that could be helpful with the Foundation’s imprimatur attached to it do not hesitate to ask for our assistance. …”

DSCN0052The Restoration Foundation has long played a role in trying to save the historic Post Office Building from years of neglect and lack of funding for maintenance. Despite two independent studies citing preservation needs, paint has continued to peel off the building exterior, and at one time even upper story windows were losing glass panes. Other than the first floor, occupied by the USPS, the remainder of the building remains vacant.

The intervention of Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) appears to have placed increased pressure on the USPS to stabilize and restore the building. California Senators Diane Feinstein and Barbara Boxer have also pressured the USPS to restore historic post office buildings in their state.

As more facts become known, the Fernandina Observer will pass them along. But for now, the future of the historic Post Office Building looks much brighter than it did last week.

Suanne Thamm 4Editor’s Note: Suanne Z. Thamm is a native of Chautauqua County, NY, who moved to Fernandina Beach from Alexandria,VA, in 1994. As a long time city resident and city watcher, she provides interesting insight into the many issues that impact our city. We are grateful for Suanne’s many contributions to the Fernandina Observer.

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Robert Warner
Robert Warner (@guest_41864)
7 years ago

Fernandina Beach is making a difference, making others take note, and making this area better for all of us (Mills and Port included).

Phyllis Davis
Phyllis Davis (@guest_41866)
7 years ago

What wonderful news! Let’s hope this progresses at a reasonable pace and we can once more be proud of this beautiful and historic building.

Lola White
Lola White (@guest_41868)
7 years ago

im so excited to see our grand post office being taken care of and restored i sat on those steps a many a day people watching and associating also had a po box inside for years brings back some great memories

carollee adams
carollee adams (@guest_41870)
7 years ago

Wonderful news!!!!!

Margo Story
Margo Story (@guest_41871)
7 years ago

Wonderful news, now we’re making progress!!

Rose Bennett
Rose Bennett (@guest_41879)
7 years ago

Power to the citizens of Fernandina Beach! Those of us who have attended meetings and/or written letter(s) to the USPS to keep this post office and building in downtown have shown the power of caring citizens to decide and have influence in our community! CITIZENS – stay involved in this and join other community issues to have the Fernandina Beach and Nassau County WE want!

Dave Lott
Dave Lott (@guest_41882)
7 years ago

What fantastic news and will definitely keep fingers crossed for the work to start quickly. Thanks to Buddy Jacobs, Senator Bill Nelson, the Members of the FBCC over several terms, And City staff who have labored and lobbied so much for so long to get to this point. Way to go! Definitely a huge celebration when all is done.

Jerie Lukefahr
Jerie Lukefahr (@guest_41887)
7 years ago

Just thinking how cool it would be to have a community college reside in the Old Post Office. Our community has so many talented and/or retired people who could provide instruction on so many topics. Glad to see this info from the Federal authorities.

Steve Vogel
Steve Vogel(@stevedec)
7 years ago

Whoo Hoo !

Elizabeth Widnes
Elizabeth Widnes (@guest_41897)
7 years ago

Are they readying it for sale?

Emily Carmain
Emily Carmain(@ecarmainbellsouth-net)
7 years ago

It sounds like if this goes through USPS will continue keeping the branch open for us! Hallelujah! The progress of the restoration will be great to watch. Thanks to everyone who has worked and is still working to help make this happen.

Mrs. D. Hunter
Mrs. D. Hunter (@guest_41900)
7 years ago

GLORY!!!!!!!!

Medardo Monzon
Medardo Monzon (@guest_41901)
7 years ago

Wonderful news indeed

Steve Crounse
Steve Crounse (@guest_42004)
7 years ago

What wonderful news. This building is one of the anchors of our Town. One of the reasons this community is unique in all of Florida. Let’s hope, in the not to distant future our City my get title to this gem. What an awesome City hall it would make.

Peggy Bulger
Peggy Bulger(@peggy-bulger1949gmail-com)
7 years ago

Just now “on the grid” in rural Newfoundland . . . . What great news!!! Congratulations to everyone who worked so hard on this . . . see you in September

Phillip Scanlan
Phillip Scanlan (@guest_42118)
7 years ago

Wonderful news!!

Thanks to the many who worked for this Fernandina Beach building historic preservation.

Particular thanks to Senstor Bill Nelson for his support of our city and for the USPS offering this plan to restore this important building.

Santa has come early this year to Fernandina Beach. No coal in our sock; instead a wonderful present for Centre St.

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