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Senior Thesis prepared by Andrew M. Liliskis, Department of Landscape Architecture
University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, Spring 1980
Prepared for the San Marco Preservation Society Jacksonville, Florida
Lee Mercier, President
Faculty Advisors: Dan W. Donelin,Vincent Ellwood
Director of Landscape Architecture: Herrick Smith
The following people have been a valuable source of assistance and
encouragement; Cynthia Mosling, George Nifong, Fred Pope, Andy Sykes
(JAPB), and Bill Tully.
This study does not signify the end of a process.
Instead, it attempts to encourage the continuation
of the present interest in the revitalization of
San Marco Square. The alternatives presented by
this study can be viewed as a beginning to further
discussions, activities and plans.
Andrew M. Liliskis
Throughout history, the town square has held a
symbolic and real image of the vitality of the
people who lived and worked there. As the heart
and soul of a town, village or city, the activities
of the square provided common binding experiences.
While San Marco Square may not be the center of
activity characteristic of a town, city or village,
it can play an important role as a neighborhood
center. It can provide the place for social ac-
tivities that bind the interests and concerns of a
neighborhood and commercial district struggling to
maintain its vitality and intactness.
The evolution of the urban environment in San Marco
has not reached beyond making it an intersection
of boulevards, edged by storefronts. It is the pur-
pose of this project to aid the redevelopment of
San Marco Square by creating a safer, quieter, more
aesthetic atmosphere for people to enjoy shopping,
business, theatres, and other social activities.
The problems of many commercial areas are clutter,
chaos, sameness and dullness. The imagery that
provides a sense of belonging is dissipated by
effects of this condition. Positive imagery pro-
vides a commercial area with the vitality necessary
to sell its goods and services.
San Marco Square is not unique in some of the prob-
lems plaguing commercial areas. The problems with
circulation, parking and streetscape contribute to
an environment devoid of character and positive
imagery. The distinctive qualities that make the
San Marco area memorable have been diluted or not
introduced into the Square. The Mediterranean fla-
vor that makes San Marco unique has been diminished
or exchanged for cheap, modernistic facades.
The activities of the pedestrian have been confined
to narrow sidewalks devoid of amenities that might
otherwise encourage socializing activities, pro-
vide comfort or create a sense of belonging. The
dominance of the automobile has paved the majority
of the Square with asphalt; leaving few alternatives
for pedestrian spaces.
The process used to develop a program for action in-
clude the following:
a) Problem identification
b) Inventory and analysis
c) Alternatives and concept development
d) Master plan
SAN MASTER DETAILED
MARCO INVENTORY ANALYSIS CONCEPT MAS I
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USE AND USER
San Marco Square is located on the Southside of
Jacksonville, Florida, approximately 1.7 miles
south of the central business district. The Square
is easily accessible from all parts of the Jackson-
ville area. It is nestled in a distinctive resi-
dential neighborhood, which has the second highest
median income in the city. (1970 census)
Access is provided by major arteries which converge
within the Square. Atlantic Boulevard originates
within the Square and terminates to the east at
Atlantic Beach. San Marco Boulevard, carrying traf-
fic from Interstate 95, Riverside and Downtown, is
a portion of State Road 13. It terminates at the
southern end of the Square. There Hendricks Avenue
continues the southward trek of State Road 13.
Currently Downtown Jacksonville is undergoing major
redevelopment. The southside of the St. Johns River
across from the central business district is also
experiencing growth. The proximity of the Downtown
area has spurned redevelopment in the San Marco area.
The Alexandria, a condominium complex, has witnessed
tremendous success in recycling a neglected river
front property. The plans to further develop adja-
cent property will increase the residential vitality
of the area. The ripple effect of improvements and
growth within the area will place new pressures and
responsibility upon the activities within the Square.
With the exception of some commercial activity along
the waterfront, San Marco originally developed as a
residential area. With the construction of the St.
John's River Bridge, in 1921, (now known as "Acosta
Bridge") San Marco experienced rapid growth.
It is about this time that the first commercial struc-
tures began to appear in the Square. A Gulf gas sta-
tion was one of the first businesses to open at the
junction of Atlantic Boulevard and San Marco Boule-
vard. The original structure has since been demol-
ished. However, Gulf Oil Company operates a station
at this location.
In 1926 a very distinctive building constructed of
pink stucco, using a mixed Spanish-Italian style,
commonly known as "Mediterrannean Architecture", was
built to begin the commercial development of San Mar-
co Square. It was called the San Marco Building,
(now locally known as the "Towne Pump" building, named
after a longtime tenant). According to a study con-
ducted by Boyer & Boyer Architects, (whose offices
,occupy a portion of the second floor), the ground
floor was designed for shops and the smaller second
floor contained offices. The central hall and stair
were open air with tile floor and wrought iron rail-
ings which remain today. The interiors or what re-
mains of the original interiors are spartan by the
standards of the day; the exterior however, was a-
ma PROJECT BOUNDARY
-- SQUARE AREA
AD 1 3 4
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domed with the familiar San Marco cartouche, urns,
acanthus brackets and the distinctive baroque twisted
columns seen between the windows under the tower." At
this time a tiered, "cake like" fountain was built in
the unpaved street center.
With the exception of several facades built in a Deco
style the remaining buildings that were to be built
by the late 1930's, lacked architectural character.
In fact, within ten years, the San Marco building had
been remodeled. The open air court had been enclosed
and the arcaded first floor was replaced by rectangu-
lar glass storefronts. Repairs and alterations have
further reduced the vitality of the original design.
San Marco Square boasts the oldest
forming theatre in the Southeast.
performed in the theatre since its
19 7. The facade is styled in the
The company has
Another Deco structure houses the movie theatre, San
Marco Theatre; built in 1933 by the E. J. Sparks group.
At the time the Sparks organization built and operated
many other theatres throughout the state.
The major portion of the Square was built by the late
1930's. With some exceptions to construction and al-
terations, the Square has remained intact. Renewed
interest in the area, however, forsees the construc-
tion of a new bank. The project may involve the de-
molition of part or all of an existing structure to
accommodate the new facility. Also, with the upsurge
of interest in the reuse and preservation of existing
buildings and neighborhoods, the members of the San
Marco community have taken an active interest in re-
developing San Marco Square to reflect the character
of the neighborhood symbolized by the San Marco Buil-
ding and fountain.
The barren streetscape is sparsely furnished. The
few elements used do not contribute to the uniformity
of the Square.
The paving materials are in poor condition. The side-
walks are breaking up, often causing pedestrians to
trip over the uneven edges. The asphalt street paving
is unevenly patched throughout the Square. Paving ma-
terials do not reflect the texture necessary to dif-
ferentiate between pedestrian and vehicle areas.
Signage dominates the Square to the point of being a
negative influence. Often the scale of lettering is
larger than necessary to flag passing motorists.
The style and form of the street lighting does not re-
inforce the character of San Marco. The height of the
lighting pole does not relate to the pedestrian. For
the most part it is taller than most buildings in the
The sidewalks are dotted with newspaper dispensers,
mailboxes, telephones and other street conveniences,
contributing to the visual disorder of the street.
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Bus stops are located at the periphery of the Square.
They lack shelter from the elements.
Except for minor repairs and painting, the structures
are in good condition. More attention is needed at
the backs of buildings which face the neighborhoods.
There are too few seating spaces. Benches have been
provided for the bus stops. All the seating is ex-
posed to the sun and other elements.
The Square completely lacks the character of the tree-
lined streets of the adjoining neighborhood. The
street surfaces are exposed to the subtropical climate
without any moderation.
Several palm trees have survived the harsh conditions
of the Square. The predominant canopy tree in the
neighborhood is the live oak.
The residential area adjacent to the Square forms an
impenetrable boundary to further commercial expansion.
Proposed land use in the San Marco area seeks to main-
tain and increase the residential integrity of the
San Marco Square is surrounded on all but one side by
residential land use. The immediate residences are
buffered by the stores from the activities of a busy
Since the evolution of the Square, traffic patterns
have not been organized to permit the ease of move-
ment; traffic constantly crosses and intersects.
Vehicular traffic intrudes pedestrian areas too fre-
quently. Circulation contributes heavily to spatial
Pedestrian areas are intruded by side streets and ser-
vice areas. Although traffic accident counts are not
high, the flow of traffic can be confusing.
No significant alternate routes are available to re-
duce the large number of commuters who pass through
the Square at this time or the near future.
The scale (width/height relationship) of the Square
is indicative of a space conducive to the automobile,
not the pedestrian. By dividing the width by the
height, the resulting values of the Square range
from 2-10. With this system of evaluation, a space
assigned a value of one or less has the appropriate
width/height relationship to be comfortable for the
pedestrian. Values above one generally automobile
Transitions into the Square are abrupt. The spaces
tend to flow outward along the avenues.
-KEY:EXISTING LAND USE
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MEDIUM DENSITY RESIDENTIAL
-KEY:PROPOSED LAND USE
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Without sequential or serial vistas the space can at
once be comprehended. Vistas are wide open to pro-
vide for the movement of automobiles. This provides
little or not interest to the motorist or the pedes-
The dominant southward flow along San Marco Boulevard
is reinforced by the vertical spire of the Hendricks
Avenue Presbyterian Church.
Other dominant landmarks include the San Marco Buil-
ding (Towne Pump) and the fountain; which is dimin-
ished by traffic and parked cars.
The low buildings and broad avenues need vegetaion
and other street furnishings to provide scale and en-
The Gulf gas station occupies a very significant loca-
tion. Service stations, parking lots tend to create
voids in the urban frame.
An "eclectic" style of architecture known as Medi-
terranean, distinguishes San Marco from other neigh-
borhoods. By their location, the San Marco Building
and the fountain built with the Italianate and Span-
ish details establishes the architectural image of
Other significant architecture within the Square in-
clude the Deco styles of the San Marco Theatre, Merle
Norman cosmetics and Theatre Jacksonville. The Geor-
gian architecture of the Southside Baptist Church is
a dominant landmark at the entrance to the Square
from Atlantic Boulevard. The orange tile roofing and
tall palm trees add a distinctive Florida quality.
At the periphery of the Square, the Hendricks Avenue
Presbyterian Church is another significant landmark.
Its Italianate facade terminates the southern vista
along San Marco Boulevard.
The majority of the buildings lack architectural char-
acter, however they are sound structures in relatively
Utilities are well laid out. The majority of service
lines have been laid along service access roads behind
the Square. Storm drainage, sanitary sewers, some tele-
phone lines and some water lines have been placed into
the streets of the Square.
While many of the utility lines are out of sight with-
in the Square, they become visible at peripheral areas.
This is particularly true along Hendricks Avenue.
USE AND USER
The Square has over forty retail stores. A great va-
riety of goods and services are available. The type
of service provided by shops has been placed in three
categories. Direct vehicle service refers to those
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businesses related to automobile services and drive-
in window operations. This type of service consumes
too much valuable retail space in order to allow ve-
hicle access. The second group called vehicle re-
lated is a convenience type store. The user is prone
to park his car as close to the store where he plans
to do business; concluding his business within 10-15
minutes. The third category of user service refers
to longer term shopping, for apparel, gifts or other
While the majority of the stores are classified as
shopping stores, the overall retail business resembles
convenience type shopping. Emphasis needs to be pla-
ced on keeping people in the Square for longer periods
Included in the daytime users are a large number of
people who patronize the luncheons and sandwich shops
in the Square. These are potential shoppers.
Most of the activity in the Square occurs during the
daytime hours of 9AM to 6PM. In the evenings, only
the theatres, Towne Pump Lounge, Pic 'N Save and the
laundromat are open to draw people into the Square.
Comments people have made about the Square concern the
lack of parking, the "ugly" appearance of the Square,
the ineffectiveness of the fountain as a focal element,
stores closing too early, lack of good night time rest-
aurant or lounge, the lack of night time social activ-
ities, the frenzied traffic movement, periodic street
flooding after heavy storms and no protection from the
hot sun. Positive comments have included the conven-
ience, variety of stores, the theatres, the Towne Pump
Lounge Building and the location.
Streetscape needs to provide a sense of place.
Changes in the circulation system are vital to rede-
velopment. An arterial link through the Square will
have to be retained.
Expansion in retail or parking is limited to the ex-
isting physical space available within the Square.
Control of signage, through a special district ordi-
Encourage facade revitalization and new construction
to reinforce the Mediterranean architectural image of
Develop shopper interest and loyalty through planned
activities, amenities and evening attractions.
Promotional efforts need to generate an appropriate
image of San Marco Square as a unit.
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SIGNIFICANT DESIGN SITE
OF AREA OF CHANGE-BARNETT BANK
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The social and economic goals of redevelopment should
fulfill the needs of the community and the businessmen.
To accomplish this, the Square will have to become a
more attractive and inviting place to shop and visit.
By making the Square an event, a place that attracts
people, the economic well being of the Square will al-
so improve. Together, they will enhance the quality
of life in the neighborhood and the Square.
A Mediterranean setting will appropriately create an
atmosphere that is attractive and inviting. This will
require a strong commitment to enhance existing Medi-
terranean architecture. Renovations and new construc-
tion need to become committed to the integrity of the
architectural style. The resulting atmosphere can
assure the success of commercial aims established by
the business community.
Plants are an important design element which will
unify and create an ambient atmosphere. They can de-
fine street corners and pedestrian crosswalks, pro-
vide separation between traffic types and create spa-
ces for activities.
Canopy trees are the major unifying element of the
Flowering trees and shrubs are used as accents that
can define areas of activities. Shrubs are used to
screen and buffer incompatible uses.
The plants to be selected must be able to withstand
the harsh urban micro-climate.
For safety reasons, shrubbery along vehicle transit-
ways and streetside parks cannot exceed a height greater
than three feet.
Seasonal color and interest is encouraged through the
use of planted urns.
By creating an identity for the entire Square, the
present use of oversized front signage can be dimin-
ished. As the integeral quality of the desired at-
mosphere improves; it becomes imperative that the
visual dominance of the signage be reduced. The
character of the setting will attract shoppers, vis-
itors and passing motorists. This eliminates the
need for signage to attract shoppers.
Signs that relate to traffic must be fashioned to
be part of the Mediterranean character.
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The effects of paving, may, for the most part, appear
cosmetic. However, by using materials compatible to
a given mode of movement, (transportation) paving can
provide for the safety of its users. The compatible
mix of materials provide unity to the space. Subtle
variations can provide a rhythm which gives the pedes-
trian a sense of movement.
The use of brick or an aggregate finished concrete
would provide surfaces compatible to pedestrian areas.
The combined use.of these materials would be accep-
table for variation and rhythm.
Asphalt pavement would provide an inexpensive surface
for vehicular transitways. The introduction of gran-
ite, cobble or other means of texture can be used at
the edges of pedestrian crossings or parking areas.
The effects of the texture would tend to inhibit the
movement of vehicles, promoting transition and safety
in areas of pedestrian movement.
Seating areas have requirements that go beyond the
necessary bench or seating wall. In this particular
climate, shade becomes very important for the com-
fort of the people who use the seating.
Another requirement concerns the particular space and
function the seating will serve. Seating areas can
be placed near zones of activity or within more per-
sonal spaces that provide an intimacy for socializing.
Seat walls and benches placed in areas of activity
allow for relaxation, while providing a view of the
bustling activities taking place in the street. Ben-
ches, seating walls, tables and chairs placed adja-
cent to active areas, yet sufficiently screened, can
provide a space for conversation, rest, chess or
checkers playing, reading or any other social activ-
ities requiring a more intimate sense of space.
Kiosks can be used to combine many diverse dispensing,
gathering and communicating devices. A kiosk can be
strategically placed where people can have access to
telephones, newspapers, store directories, community
information and deposit litter. A single unit de-
signed to contain all these functions would elimin-
ate the disparate units that add to the complexity
of the Square.
Street lighting serves a purpose twenty four hours a
day. By day, the material, style and size must con-
tribute to the unity and aesthetic quality of the
space. As a source of light, it controls the viewing
areas and promotes the uniformity of the night time
streetscape. A pedestrian related sized fixture is
Other street furnishings that may need attention in-
clude fire hydrants, traffic controls, drinking foun-
tains, trash receptacles and traffic signs.
While providing important functional needs to the
street, the materials, style and scale of the street
furniture needs to contribute to the unity and qual-
ity of the Square.
As already stated, the style of architecture that
has established a memorable architectural image for
San Marco is known as "Mediterranean". While not a
true architectural style, it contains elements that
are unique to a sub-tropical environment. The wall
surfaces are generally stucco. Roofs are tiled with
a reddish to orange clay tile. Architectural propor-
tions and details draw from Italian and Spanish ar-
chitecture. The features include classical columns,
arches, moulding and other decorative detailing.
For an urban environment, collonaded arcades would
not only enhance and reinforce the accepted image,
but would provide comfort and safety for the shopper.
This may be too expensive an approach for existing
structures. In that case, the use of colorful fab-
ric awnings would provide an acceptable unifying al-
Materials that are indigneous to other periods and
styles require special attention. Whenever possible
the store front repairs and renovations need to con-
sider using materials compatible with the Mediterran-
Pedestrians need to move freely throughout the Square.
They must be protected from the hazards of traffic.
Street design will consider minimizing conflicts with
side streets and service access areas. The street-
scape will provide comfort for the pedestrian, in-
cluding rest areas, shade, weather protection and
Vehicular traffic patterns will be simplified to re-
duce crossing and intersecting. A major arterial link
will be retained while another segment of the street
will serve as a two way parking street.
Street alignment, paving material, spatial enclosure
and street widths will be employed to inhibit rapid
vehicle movement through the Square. On-street par-
king will be retained until suitable off-street al-
ternatives can be implemented. Preferred locations
are along the arterial transitways.
The street improvements will allow more space for pe-
destrian activities. The spaces can accommodate dis-
plays, contests, street sales and cultural events.
The street amenities will encourage lunch time strollers
and visitors to the Square.
Street side cafes and seasonal vendors can add to the
imagery of the street.
Business and community organizations can sponsor sea-
sonal festivities. An art festival can utilize ex-
isting theatrical houses and other spaces can provide
display, theatrical or musical staging areas.
Shopper loyalty can be increased by the uniqueness of
the space. More importantly, personalized attention
within the store develops returning customers.
Evening activities are encouraged. Improvements to
lounges, restaurants and store hours will benefit this
Simplicity of design
Provisions for a sense of entrance and enclosure will
provide a sense of place.
The fountain's effectiveness will increase by placing
it centrally, out of the mainstream of traffic into a
pedestrian space. Being adjacent to traffic and en-
larged in size, it will become a central focal element
for motorists and pedestrians.
"-- VEHICULAR CIRCULATION
1 1 PARKING
y FOCAL CENTER & CENTRAL LINK
!% ENTRANCE STATEMENT
IIII PROPOSED COMMERCIAL REDEVELOPMENT
The redevelopment Master Plans typify two solutions.
Both are basically the same in concept and implemen-
tation. The difference is due to the amount of re-
development that occurs within the area bounded by
San Marco Boulevard, Atlantic Boulevard and Hendricks
Avenue. In Plan B, that area has been more intensely
developed to include additional retail and office space,
a restaurant and parking garage. It is also possible
to biew Plan A as a phase to Plan B.
Atlantic Boulevard and San Marco Boulevard have been
linked more directly. This will allow passage of
traffic along these arterial roads to pass though
the Square in a less confusing flow. The speed, how-
ever, is reduced by traffic control, raised pedestrian
crosswalks and road alignment.
The remainder of San Marco Boulevard from Atlantic Bou-
levard to Hendricks Avenue is a two way parking street.
In order to discourage through traffic, the entrance
to the street has been narrowed. The alignment has been
designed in such a way that turning into the parking
street would take more effort than to continue along
Hendricks at the eastern entrance (or Atlantic at the
western entrance). Once into the parking street, the
motorist will encounter raised pedestrian crosswalks
whose elevation and texture will inhibit rapid move-
ment; much as a speed bump.
Pedestrians will have the right of way within the
Square. The sidewalk areas have been widened and in-
clude amenities. Shaded seating areas are placed at
nodes and areas of activities. Strategically placed
kiosks provide information and directions to the stores
and activities available to the visitor and shopper.
Thekiosk also houses newspaper dispensers, trash bins
and telephones. Other pedestrian amenities include
drinking fountains, clock tower, sheltered bus stops,
bicycle racks and street side cafes.
The street lighting fixtures have been reduced in scale
to relate to the pedestrian. The fixture, finished in
a dark bronze, holds a contemporary resemblance to a
fixture once used in the Square by Gulf Oil Company
during the 1920's. Other night lighting will include
glitter lighting of trees, significant buildings and
the fountain. Electrical provisions need to include
outlets for specail occasions (festivals, Christmas,
A mixture of arcades and colorful awnings enhance and
unify the image of the Square and provide comfort to
the shoppers. Subdued pastel colors, clay tiles and
stucco exteriors evoke a Mediterranean flavor to the
The San Marco Building has been reconstructed to re-
semble the original design. The extended arcade pro-
vides closure and folcal interest to the pedestrian.
The arcade can readily house a street side cafe; adding
to the atmosphere of street activities.
New construction utilizes the Mediterranean tradition
also. Elements like collonaded arcades add a new vi-
tality to the sense of place sought through architec-
ture. The location and design will make the develop-
ment a distinctive address in the business community.
Access required by various individual businesses occur
only along Hendricks Avenue and Atlantic Boulevard.
Former access is replaced by sidewalks bordered by
vegetation to diminish the effects of voids and dis-
harmony created by these vehicle service facilities.
The fountain area has become a central focal area for
pedestrians and motorists. Located centrally, the
fountain can now be enjoyed by the pedestrian and be
a landmark to the motorist. Pedestrian circulation
is routed to make the fountain area a central node.
The closing of Carlo Street has provided a space that
will allow pedestrian and bicycle transition from the
neighborhood into the Square. Being out of the main-
stream of activity, it is more conducive to intimate
uses. As a streetside park, it offers a place to re-
lax, converse or eat lunch. Tables and chairs are
included in the seating areas. Flowering and decid-
ious trees provide shade in the summer, a canopy of
color in the spring and fall and allow sunshine to
penetrate in the winter. Other amenities can in-
clude concession type booths, a stage, wall sculp-
ture or paintings, fountain and children's play area.
Year round use may be enhanced by covering the en-
tire space with a plexiglass roof system.
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At this stage of the process only a brief description
of the sources and types of funding that are appli-
cable, can be presented. Once specific goals have been
established, then documentation of financial needs can
be set forth.
There exists three basic sources of funding; federal
and local government agencies and private sources.
The funds from these sources come in the form of grants,
loans, contributions and special tax assessments.
The formation of a non-profit development corporation
may be necessary, if not mandatory, to assist in re-
ceiving loans, grants and contributions. This body
will be charged with the responsibilities of adminis-
trating the entire project.
The types of funds that are available can be located
through public agencies such as HUD, Department of
Community Affairs, state and federal catalogues and
other redevelopment agencies.
An example of some the available federal and local
Economic Development Administration provides funds
($5,000 to $7,138,000) to assist construction for pro-
jects with long term growth potential. It will also
provide funds for projects which can utilize the un-
employed or underemployed people in time of economic
Small Business Administration which can provide loans
to individuals or to non-profit development corporat-
The National Endowment For The Arts has been very ac-
tive in providing funds for preservation and planning
of civic cultural needs.
Other sources applicable to San Marco are special tax
assessments by local government and the lease of right
of way that have been closed.
Private sources include personal and corporate contri-
butions, loans and fund raising events.
CASE STUDY ONE
The deterioration of Downtown Fernandina Beach and loss
of revenue forced citizen groups and merchants to look
for a solution. Shop owners were assessed a fee, based
on store front footage, to raise funds for a revital-
ization master plan. With a donation from Amelia Is-
land Plantation, the merchants raised $13,500 for the
initial plan. After two years of community meetings,
in depth analysis and detailed planning, the firm of
F. Eugene Smith (Bath, Ohio) delivered the master plan
in 1971. The 50 page written report and elevations
of store fronts were delivered amidst growing commun-
ity support and involvement. Fernandina Beach had
found an identity with the Victorian past of the late
1800's and its contemporary challenges.
In order to control their own destiny, Fernandina
Beach decided against accepting funds to recreate
the downtown area as an historic district as in St.
Augustine, Key West, Tampa and Pensacola. The commun-
ity turned to the city to purchase parking areas and
pass ordinances to preserve the distinctive character
of a 30 block historic district, now on the National
In July, 1974, the National Endowment for the Arts
granted the City of Fernandina Beach, $34,750 to im-
plement the master plan by providing funds for de-
tailed working drawings. The original designers and
a local planner, Rob Smith, continued this phase of
The original mall concept was changed to a serpentine
two way street and on street parking within a Victor-
Work was begun by owners to refurbish their store
front facades and signage. This continued through
1975, when a $2,000 grant from roofing manufacturer,
Bird and Son, made possible the restoration of the
In 1976, a $200,000 grant from Nassau County was ap-
propriated to restore the 1891 Victorian Courthouse.
In 1977, after an intensive effort on the part of
Arthur I. Jacobs (Executive Director of the Restor-
ation Foundation) and Don Roberts, (Executive Direc-
tor of the Chamber of Commerce) the Economic Devel-
opment Administration (U.S. Department of Commerce)
granted the City of Fernandina Beach $1.3 million to
execute the master plan. This single grant matched
the entire estimated cost. Since the community had
all its working plans ready, it was able to begin
construction within the required ninety days. The
ground breaking began April 29, 1977 and was comple-
ted in approximately one year.
The preceding information has been taken from a con-
versation with Executive Director of the Chamber of
Commer, Don Roberts, and a news release printed by
the Amelia Island Fernandina Restoration Foundation,
Inc. The following is a reprint from that bulletin.
RENEWED CENTRE STREET
"The year-long construction has had its hardships.
Centre Street merchants dispaired, as drivers flocked
to the shopping center with its huge parking lot, and
another shopping center began taking shape on the main
highway into town. The Historic District Council tem-
porarily waived its sign ordinance, allowing merchants
to have any signs they chose to stimulate business
while the street was torn up.
Now Centre Street merchants can welcome people back
to a unique shopping experience a beautiful setting,
a nostalgic atmosphere, convenient parking, and pro-
prietor-to-customer relationship that no modern shop-
ping center can approach. Fernandina's revitalization
should be an inspiration to other small towns or aging
neighborhoods in big cities, for here in this little
seaport of 8,500 believers, the "impossible dream"
CASE STUDY TWO
In 1973, the City of Lake Wales engaged itself in re-
vitalizing its downtown area. The master plan that
met their goals encompassed a five block area in the
shape of an "H". The verticals, representing two
blocks, were left open to traffic, the horizontal
block became a pedestrian mall. Additional parking
was provided through acquisitions made by the city.
The entire project included street and sidewalk im-
provements, planters, benches, underground utilities,
lighting and landscaping. The cost was $500,000.
The community had responses from four funding sources
to pay the costs:
1-2) A special tax assessment was established by the
city which involved the city and the property owners
on a 50-50 basis. The assessment was made on a front
foot basis. The amount acquired through the special
tax assessment totaled $375,000.
3) An open space grant of $100,000 was provided for
the sole purpose of developing an urban open space.
4) Private contributions made up the remainder of cost
needs. This came in the form of contributions, tree
purchases, etc. The Merchants Association contributed
$4,000 for the construction of a pavillion in the cen-
ter of the mall area.
Enter into a planning process that will establish the
goals of the community. This will result in a plan
of action which will encompass all aspects of planning
Set up a non-profit development corporation to admin-
istrate the project.
Appoint a coordinator who can be responsible for com-
municating the image of San Marco Square and coordin-
ate all events and matters concerning the operation
of the Square.
Incorporate an appropriate logotype in advertising
and street signage within the Square.
Seek zoning changes and variances for street cafes,
special district ordinances concerning signage and
other elements of the streetscape.
The following list provides a possible sequence to the
a) Facades and signage can begin once a unified ordi-
nance has been established.
b) Utilities that need repair would occur.prior to
c)sidewalk and street improvements, then d) planting
can be implemented, e) street furnishings (benches,
kiosks, etc.) could be the last purchases.