‘We’ll design our own damn sign,’ Fernandina Beach Mayor says of county plans

Screenshot 2022-10-05 11.20.24 AM
The issue regards the sign at 8th and Lime streets.

Those wanting to turn Amelia Island into the sort of mass-produced luxury destination for rich folks that other places have become will have to go through the Fernandina Beach Mayor first.

Mayor Mike Lednovich voiced his displeasure with actions by county officials, in a tourism and marketing capacity, taking away what he sees as one of the desirable features about Fernandina Beach.

Among other efforts, the planning process for Nassau Next is ongoing. It’s one half of a two-part effort by the Nassau County Board of County Commissioners, the county Tourist Development Council, and their hired consultants

Lednovich became aware of the sign situation after receiving an email forwarded by City Manager Dale Martin regarding the welcome sign at 8th and Lime streets.

“We received an email that the county had approved hiring a party to design our sign,” Lednovich said at the City Commission’s latest meeting. “And, my first thought was, ‘Who asked you? It’s our sign.’ So, this is more of the county trying to make the whole place look the same. Is that what we want? It’s not what I want.”

He said he previously lived in the Newport Coast community of Southern California, which he doesn’t want Fernandina to emulate.

“It all looked the same,” Lednovich said. “High end — ‘This is a rich people’s island,’ or community.”

No matter how you look at it, aspects of standardization built into countywide marketing concepts would bring consistency and some appearance of sameness to Amelia Island.

“The goal of Nassau Next — a Tourism Strategy and Destination Project — is to create a roadmap for the future of Nassau County and enhancing the tourism economy,” according to the project website.

“Positioning new areas of the county will help to capture an increased share of tourism spending while maintaining the momentum that currently exists on Amelia Island. The project will deliver a 10-year roadmap for creating jobs, expanding the economy and improving quality of life for visitors and residents.”

Lednovich asked Martin to express his concerns to Nassau County officials.

“I’m hoping, in your communication with the County Manager, that we set the record straight that we’ll design our own damn sign,” Lednovich said, “that fits the flavor of our community and what our city wants.”

Wes Wolfe

Wes Wolfe is a reporter who's worked for newspapers across the South, winning press association awards for his work in Georgia and the Carolinas. He lives in Jacksonville and previously covered state politics, environmental issues and courts for the News-Leader in Fernandina Beach. You can reach Wes at [email protected] and @WesWolfeFP. Facebook: facebook.com/wes.wolfe


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