4 4 The St. Augustine Record
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THE ST. AUGUSTINE RECORD
Hispanic Gardens: Let's take a bad situation and make itgood
O ne of the city's more appealing, aesthetic properties be-
Jcame the center of controversy late last week and an
eyesore in the historic district.
The Hispanic Gardens, located on the corer of St.
George and Hypolita streets, was boarded up, taped off,
There is no shortage of opinions as to why. Neither does
there seem to be an consensus on whether or not the closure
First, the official line is that the garden was closed to al-
low an archaeological survey of the property a first step to
possible construction on the property. That's probably true.
But still, why close it off weeks or months prior to the sur-
yey? According to City Manager Bill Harriss, the wall is le-
gal only if temporary. It will be up to the code enforcement
board or the Historic Architectural Review Board to decide
if what the St. Augustine Restoration Foundation- owner
of the property is doing is, in fact, "temporary."
Foundation board member and Flagler College President
Bill Proctor, however says that the reason for the closure
was. two-fold. A survey is upcoming, but the overriding is-
Ssue was vendors who used the garden as their private mar-
loketplace. It was the final solution to the prickly problem of
S'Both the reason for the closure and the rather ugly result
'ilHl be fuel for controversy. But both are insignificant in the
:larger,picture of the future of the garden,
SThere are plans to raze it, and,erect a.two-story building
"-,on'the site. This. would be a huge step backward in the ,
, city's preservation efforts.:The garden, built by private do-
nations for the 400th anniversary of St. Augustine in 1965,
is one of the only open areas left downtown. It's a beautiful
spot for visitors and residents alike to stop, rest and relax
just off the bustle of St. George Street. Ever smell the Con-
federate Jasmine Wafting on salt breezes on a springtime
May we suggest an alternative?
It would be totally consistent with the vision of the City
of St. Augustine to purchase that property. It could go a
step further and talk to the Foundation about also purchas-
ing the Pan American building just to the north of the gar-
Both are significant properties. The commercial revenues
from the Pan American building could be used to bankroll
the upkeep of the garden. The city would be saving an abso-
lutely unique piece of property.
This course of action would also solve the problem of
who is and is not allowed in the privately owned garden. If
it became city property, existing ordinances would apply in
the garden, just as they do on any public right of way in the
It would also seem that this plan would be consistent with
the Restoration Foundation's goals.
-Certainly the properties would be a wonderful addition to
,the city's Department of Historic Preservation and Heritage
Tourism and a meaningful coup for a city whose life
blood pumps through historic St. George-Street andinto the
hearts and souls of the thousands of visitors and residents
who'walk it, work it and welcome its special charm daily.
The United States
Change Research Program,
by presidential initiative in
has now released a draft re|
how climate changes will afi
United States over the ne
years. .-Thbugh the
report's tone is not
alarmist, it is a sobering
document, giving us' a
glimpse into a future
where higher tempera-
tures, drought and flood-'
ing will reshape the
Global warming now
seems a matter of fact,.
Over the past 100 years.,
the mean global tempera-
ture has increased about a
degree Fahrenheit. Going
back to the late 1800s, seven o
hottest years on record came
1990s. Ocean temperatures are
And it seems as if hardly a m
season or year passes without
another temperature record.
That's what we know
observation. What we can't 1
of is how long the trend wi
whether it is irreversible v
significant action, and whet
so-called greenhouse effect
blame. There is, however, a bi
scientific consensus that the
house effect the trapping '
in the atmosphere, by certain
especially carbon dioxide
real andl i in fert at the rvnt
. .. ..