Actions Speak Louder Than Words!
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(ANX EDITORIAL):lf the caption above this beautiful design drawn by Hugo
uhihns, under the direction of George W. Stickle can be considered as a statement of
fact then perhaps the citizens of St. Johns County should demand that the elected
,officials representing them subscribe to this line of thinking.
In the April 9th edition of the Record the above design was presented to the cit-
Izens of our county for their acceptance or rejection. Since that date not one citizen
has publicly denounced this proposal as one that would not be desirable and bene-
ficial to our county.
HERE IS WHAT HAPPENED
A.-The proposal appeared in the April 9th edition of the Record.
I. Within the next 10 tkays every major civic organization publicly endorsed the
2. Support from many businessmen in Hastings was voiced.
3. St. Augustine Beach sent in their approval.
4. Fla. East Coast Hotel Company favored project.
5. Every thing was going too well to be true.
1;.-The county commission met to discuss the proposal.
1. The county-father. appointed a committee to investigate the feasibility of
2. The committee approved of the proposal.
3. The county introduced a bill in the legislature authorizing the county to rent
space in such a building as the Cordova.
4. Fla. East Coast Hotel Coinpajny agreed to sell for $250,000.
5. Everything was still going too well to be true.
C.-The county commissioners announced that they had retained the Jacksonville
engineering firm of Reynolds, Smith and Hill to investigate the possibility of convert-
ing the old hotel into a county-municipal building.
1. The report from Reynolds. Smith and Hill was considerably delayed when the
project engineer was called into the armed service, and an alternate finished the report.
2. An excellent set of plans and specifications of the old building were completed by
the Jacksonville firm along with a report that stated that the building was not sound
and the project was not feasible.
3. The county commission voted to postpone further action on the project.
4. The Record reported that action on the proposal had been shelved.
5. The county commission explained in a letter that the proposal had not been
shelved and would still be under consideration.
THE LATEST DEVELOPMENT!
At the last meeting of the commission, County Attorney Williard Howatt expressed
the legal opinion that the county was no longer under obligation to the Jacksonville
firm of Reynolds, Smith and Hill for the renovation and restoration of the Cordova
Building. However, Mr. Howatt stated that he felt the county was still under obliga-
tion for the construction of any new edifice that might be under consideration for a
new county courthouse. The reason the citizens of St. Johns County are presently under
obligation is that our county fathers signed an agreement, some years back, with Rey-
nolds, Smith and Hill to construct a county courthouse (costing over two million dol-
lars) south of town in what is known as Lewis Field near Flagier Hospital. This move
to place the court-house south of the heart of the city met with a great deal of oppo-
sition and soon met a natural death.
RECORD ENGAGES LOCAL FIRM
After reading the report purchased by the county irom the Jacksonville firm of
Reynolds, Smith and Hill and finding that this firm did not specialize in historical
restoration work, the Record engaged George W. Stickle of Stickle and Associates (St.
Augustine, Cleveland and Philadelphia) to make a complete survey of the building and
determine whether or not if it was structurally sound.
The following is a portion of a letter by George W. Stickle to the Record dated
"Since your information that the architectural firm of Smith, Reynolds and Hill
are no longer under the employment of St. Johns County in regards to the restoration
of the Cordova Hotel, I feel free to accept your offer of payment to analyze the plans
and once again inspect the building and render my opinion as to its structural stability."
STICKLE'S REPORT FINDS
1. "The Cordova Building is structurally sound and should be saved."
2. "I feel that St. Johns County can have a Court House and adequate office facili-
ties in this building for the sum of $750,000, plus purchase cost of $250,000.
3. "An investigation as to space and shape requirements of various governmental
agencies would be necessary to completely establish my estimate of cost, but I am quite
convinced that my estimate will satisfy the needs of both the city and the county."
"It was nice of the Record to have confidence in us to make the necessary calcu-
lations to see if the building was sound and I can assure you that with some minor
corrections it would be perfectly sound."
GEORGE W. STICKLE
The purpose of this report and editorial is not to castigate anyone. We are not
endorsing the engagement of Stickle and Associates for the job of restoring the Cor-
dova Building for use as a County-Municipal Building, although we feel the firm is
more than qualified for the job.
However it is our objective to see that ONE PROJECT--JUST ONE-meets with
some degree of success in St. Johns County. It is our opinion that when our public of-
ficials seek advice outside of the county they should look first in their own back yard.
There are few. problems that require solutions that cannot be found right here in our
It is also our opinion that the Cordova Building restored and converted to a County-
Municipal Building is still a good idea. With the present available county funds and the
rental payments from the various stores novw housed in the lovely old Cordova, we are
satisfied that the project could be self-sustaining and would not require any additional
We feel that we have shouldered this proposal as far as we can without becoming
monotonous. In our country it is still the voters that control the action of their elected
officials. If YOU ARE NOT SATISFIED with the treatment given to this proposal
then we suggest YOU do something about it. On the other hand if YOU ARE SATIS-
FIED with the outcome then forget it and like our many predecessors allow our county
to remain in its present NO PROGRESS RUT. .
WHAT CAN STILL BE DONE?
If the many groups that originally endorsed the proposal to restore the Cordova
Hotel for use as a court-house still feel that the proposal has merit, then it is time that
some concerted action is displayed.
The money already expended for the survey by Reynolds, Smith and Hill is not
wasted. The plans and specifications furnished by the Jacksonville firm to the county
for $1,500 are excellent and well worth our money.
Rather than see the money and effort that has already been expended go for
naught, it appears that further study on the feasibility of converting the old building
into practical usage is now in order.
We have a great deal of local talent in the fields of design, engineering, plumbing,
contracting, restoration, etc. The Record is quite sure that if some of our local firms
were asked to give their expert advice on this proposal that they would do so effectively
The proposal to convert the Cordova Building is a local idea derived from many
local ideas. The placing of these ideas into reality can also be done locally. IF we
have the foresight and fortitude to prove to ourselves and those who keenly watch the
progress of the "Nation's Oldest City" that in St. Augustine "Actions Do Speak Louder