Rayonier Advanced Materials and Long Island History

IMG 0692Driving to the office earlier, I took the shortcut, passing Rayonier’s plant on the way.   The operation is almost invisible on the main roadways, other than the visible logging trucks turning down Gum Street, but this place is always on my mind.  In 1939, Ed Boner, Sr., came to Fernandina from the Grays Harbor location.   I grew up hearing stories about lines for jobs and chlorine leaks.  Mom would take me to drop off meals a the guard house, when Dad left his lunch on the counter.   All the diversity we have on the island and stability, in my opinion, are possible because the local mills provided jobs, when there were few jobs.  Shrimping, once a significant part of the local economy, is still important, but now more a part of the local history, not a major economic driver.  

Rayonier has been the biggest influence on Fernandina and on our county for decades.  In many ways, we are taking a last bite of development and seeing a best possible plan, because Rayonier owned the majority of land in Nassau County.  The luxury of being last and luxury of planned development will benefit Nassau County far more than most realize.  




NewImageHistory – Rayonier Advanced Materials:

1939 Rayonier completes construction on its first cellulose specialties plant in the Southeast in Fernandina Beach, Florida

Careful on Alachua!

One of the busier streets on the weekend, especially during the farmer’s market, Alachua Street is undergoing repairs to a swale and correction of a drainage issue (?) near 8th. The eroding bank appears to be reaching the stop sign, if you notice the lean.

History Online, Cemeteries and Spanish

Looking for interesting content tonight, I found something mentioning a public use for lots based on Spanish plans for Fernandina. ¬† I’m assuming this meant “Old Town”, but I’m now curious. ¬†The plat below is of Old Town and not a bad way to learn something the average visitor or local often overlooks.

On one trip to the local cemetery with my sons, we took the time to look up the history for a name on a headstone.  Highly under-rated, taking your children to the older section of the local cemetery leads to an education in itself.  I think we need to remember our history and think of it as real, but it has a way of making preservation and history a little more real.   and, if interested in a trip to Bosca Bello, the older section of the cemetery is deteriorated in places, but rich in history.

Highly recommended….The Amelia Island Genealogical Society http://www.aigensoc.org/¬†has an online data base of cemetery records and obituaries, as well as a wealth of local¬†information.

Old_Town_PlatScreen Shot 2018-02-07 at 7.18.10 PM

Both images above are snips and available from a variety of sources online. ¬†I believe both are public, but my searches included American Memory, the Library of Congress, our own Nassau County Clerk’s website, Wikipedia and Google.

SpaceX and Implications for Nassau?

Considering the SpaceX launch this afternoon, I wonder how many of us are aware of the spaceport location only a short distance to the north. ¬† Camden Spaceport is an hour by car, but only about 20 miles by air. ¬†If you want a diverse economic base, Crawford Diamond’s potential and the spaceport make our location even more attractive, as if that were possible.rocket-launch-space-discovery

The proposed Camden Spaceport site is located on the I-95 corridor next to the Atlantic Ocean¬†and is surrounded by a large undeveloped¬†buffer zone.¬†Coastal Camden County, Georgia provides a nearly unrestricted launch range¬†for the launch of spacecraft to a wide range of orbits.¬†Orbital inclinations between 31¬į and 58¬į can be reached without the addition of costly propulsive maneuvers to change the orbital plane.

In addition, our southerly location and favorable launch azimuth enable more payload to orbit from Camden County. These launches have the capability to fly due east, maximizing the velocity boost from the rotation of the Earth and enabling more payload to reach orbit.

We are also home to a former rocket testing facility that is ideal for space vehicle manufacturing and we can provide ready access to existing space launch sites in both Virginia and Florida.  www.spaceportcamden.us 2/3/18

Beach Driving….Why reduce access?

I grew up on the island and, at one time, I could drive the beaches from end to end.  Surfing and fishing was far different and beach access meant I could access the public beaches easily with fishing gear, cooler, car and friends in the car with me.  Over time, the island became more crowded and driving the entire beach became a safety concern.


While I understand the changes will probably never allow unrestricted driving, the unwritten “DEAL” or the “UNDERSTANDING” with locals and advocates for beach access, including many locals with a very long history on the island like Lowell Hall, was to stay away from further reduction of access to the beach. ¬† On Tuesday, the tiny area remaining in the city may be cut in half and, if you read the proposal, a number of restrictions may be added, including a “study” required to demonstrate need if the area is ever increased, special training and a permit?

SYNOPSIS: Parking on the beach has been permitted at the Sadler Road public access since the City Commission approved an “on-beach” parking area south of the north right-of-way line of Sadler Road to a point 600 feet south in the late 1980’s.

The City Commission wants to discuss reducing the parking area on the beach at Sadler Road from 600 feet to 300 feet which would put the terminus of this parking area at the southern property boundary line of Seaside Park if the Ordinance passes.

Source: www.fbfl.us Agenda 2/6/18

Read the Proposed Ordinance

While I understand both sides, I disagree with further reducing the area or access in any way.  I also feel anyone with a Nassau County tag should be able to access the areas without permit or any proposed special beach driving training, given available remaining space.  Living in Florida my entire life, being trained for driving on the beach is somewhat absurd, in my opinion.   I would hope, if training is proposed, the training is optional with a signature noting it was declined.

Paradise is changing and I find the repeated return to elimination of or reduction of beach access painful!  Living on the island for the past 54 years and a native, I think I have a right to a strong opinion and the right to feel a little offended.

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1981 Beach Control….Drive only south from Sadler

Old and New at the Waterfront

The waterfront in Fernandina has undergone changes, since my childhood.  Years ago, I remember playing underneath the old wood docks or fishing with hand lines.   Simpler days and a vanishing waterfront is overshadowed by change.  Smaller cruise ships, a change in port ownership and Front Street in sore need of repair, mean more change is on the horizon.

Cruise Ships and Shrimpers

We can guide change, but the Fernandina today is a world away from the Fernandina I knew 45 years ago. ¬†Unlike many friends, I chose to stay on the island as an adult and think we’re just evolving. ¬† Fernandina is a far more interesting place to live today. ¬†Consider car shows, fishing tournaments, numerous festivals, races, restaurant week and world class dining, world class resorts, restored historic buildings, fantastic parks, the greenway, jobs from diverse industry and cleaner beaches.


Meeting Space for Chamber Members

I took a few minutes to visit the new Chamber of Commerce location or, I should say, their newly remodeled location.  The design, I believe by Jose Miranda, feels collaborative and feels usable.  Tables, meeting spaces, coffee, private rooms and a very functional arrangement, make this one of the nicest spaces I can imagine.  With membership, you can reserve space or just drop in to use desk, copier or meet a client.

Stop in to take a look…you’ll be shocked and pleasantly surprised by the change.


Throwback Thursday

Pizza in the air at Moon River, the old docks, one great day at the beach, Fort Clinch brickwork, fake Dora and a blurry shot of downtown, all bring back memories.¬† Most of these came from earlier blog posts 15 years ago.¬† ¬†Remembering how much the island is the same and how much it changed…perspective or important?

When did you make it to the island and what seemed important at the time?