St. Johns commissioners move to purchase Genovar property

A unanimous vote by the St. Augustine Port, Waterway, and Beach District, last month to spend $1.5 million toward the purchase of the Genovar property put into place the necessary funding for St. Johns County to secure the property.

The contribution by the St. Augustine Port, Waterway, and Beach District demonstrates the widespread support behind St. Johns County’s decision to acquire approximately 31 acres on the San Sebastian River, known as the Genovar property, for the future development of a public boat ramp and related uses, according to a county media release.

St. Johns County commissioners voted in early August to purchase the property for $17.5 million.

“I’m thankful for the continued support and partnership from the St. Augustine Port, Waterway, and Beach District. The generous contribution toward purchasing the Genovar property ensures our vision for greater deep-water access and recreational facilities becomes a reality,” said St. Johns County Board Chairman Henry Dean, District 5 Commissioner, in the release.

In addition to the Port, Water & Beach District funding, sources for the purchase include the Waterway Access Fund, Tree Bank Fund, Impact Fee Parks Zone C, Tourist Development Tax Category V, General Fund/Short Term Financing and grant opportunities, including the Florida Inland Navigation District, the release states.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to benefit the residents of our District as well as the County as a whole, not just by improving waterway access, but also by adding to the county’s growing stock of outstanding public parks, and by ensuring that this extraordinary property remains largely preserved in its beautiful, undeveloped state. We applaud the County for their vision and tenacity in securing the Genovar property for public use and look forward to working together on future improvements,” said Matt Brown, chairman of the St. Augustine Port, Waterway, and Beach District, in the release.

Closing on the property could occur as early as December 2022. Once the property is under County ownership, staff will begin the process of conceptual planning of the site.