On Monday, congressmen from the First Coast showcased a proposal preserving historical landmarks in the region as part of a National Heritage Area (NHA).
The “Nation’s Oldest Port National Heritage Area Act” would cover parts of Duval, St. Johns and Flagler Counties as NHAs.
The bill was introduced by U.S. Rep. John Rutherford, R-Fla., at the end of last month. U.S. Rep. Al Lawson, D-Fla., and U.S. Rep. Michael Waltz, R-Fla., are cosponsoring it.
“St. Augustine and the entire First Coast is home to countless places of historical significance,” said Rutherford. “From rich Native American and African American history to the oldest continuously occupied European settlement in the United States, Northeast Florida’s cultural heritage sites are deserving of this national recognition that will ensure they exist for future generations. I thank the team at the St. Augustine Lighthouse and Maritime Museum and all who have worked for many years to achieve this designation. I also want to thank Congressman Waltz and Congressman Lawson for joining me in this effort to forever preserve our cherished landmarks, landscapes and culture.”
“Northeast Florida is filled with natural beauty, historical assets and countless resources we need to preserve,” Waltz said. “Our area is one of the oldest, most historical areas in our country, so it’s important we protect and preserve these areas for visitors and residents.
“I’m proud to work with Reps. Rutherford and Lawson to honor our area’s role in America’s history and I hope our colleagues in the House will support this bill,” Waltz added.
The bill was sent to the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee at the end of last month. So far, there is no companion bill over in the U.S. Senate.