Buried in the Shorelines community news on jacksonville.com is this story:
MAYPORT – Opponents of a proposed cruise ship terminal not only put a hold on the plans this week with Florida Sunshine Law challenges, they’re also challenging Jacksonville Port Authority figures that say the terminal would have a positive economic impact.
“There’s been a huge economic impact since Jacksonville has owned the property along the waterfront,” said Michelle Baldwin, president of the Mayport Village Civic Association, which has sued to stop the terminal. It’s a negative impact, she said.
The JPA purchased about 8 acres on the waterfront in June. Baldwin, who represents about 70 Mayport property owners, said the negative impact since then includes moving about 20 shrimp boats from their docks, moving a net-rigging shop to Yulee and closing the Mayport Tavern.
“There’s been an impact to the morale of the village and the way we have lived life down here for approximately the past 200 years as a fishing village,” Baldwin said.
The negatives contrast a University of North Florida study paid for and released by the JPA last month that said a terminal in Mayport could have a $500-million impact on the area’s economy in the first six years of operation.
The study also concluded that a terminal at Mayport instead of its current location west of the Dames Point Bridge would have an economic impact on five Northeast Florida counties. In addition, the study says the terminal would create about 5,000 jobs on cruise ships and in service industry businesses.
But Baldwin said the study overlooks the negatives, and Warren Anderson, an attorney with the Florida Public Trust Environmental Legal Institute, which is helping represent the association, said the JPA is refusing to release details on how the UNF study was conducted.
“We’re frustrated because we haven’t had a chance to look at the report and evaluate it with their own economist,” Anderson said.