Flagler County will take down the first of 10 billboards from the Scenic A1A Byway. It will come down January 13 and the public is invited to attend.
Palm Coast, FL – January 8, 2014 – Starting next week and over the next three years, Flagler County will permanently remove 10 billboards from along S.R. A1A to improve the views along this Scenic Byway. At 3 p.m. Monday, January 13, commissioners will tear down a billboard on S.R. A1A opening the view for amazing natural landscape. The public is invited to attend the event on S.R. A1A just south of Jungle Hut Road.
It won’t be your traditional ceremony, but one in which the commissioners and citizens will literally grab a rope and pull down a billboard. It is a fitting finale to a 20 year effort by County government and citizen volunteers to preserve the beauty of the area which is source of local pride.
“The A1A Coastal and Scenic Byway is such a treasure along our coastline,” County Commission Chairman George Hanns, said. “We need to do everything we can to restore the natural scenery of the area.”
The billboards are a holdover from the early tourism days in Florida when billboards were the best means of grabbing the attention of passing tourist. Today the signs are used mostly by real estate companies to sell a piece of Florida lifestyle. The billboards block the view of the rare coastal oak hammock that has disappeared through most of Florida as a result of residential construction.
The 72 miles of historic highway hugs the coastline in Flagler County. Large oaks and red cedar form a canopy and soften the light and provide a cool respite on a warm summers’ day. A leisurely drive along this section of S.R. A1A gives you a glimpse of old Florida, before theme parks and gated communities dotted the state.
The scenery didn’t just accidentally remain in place. Flagler County worked with state and federal agencies to create a coastal Greenway in 1993 centered on S.R. A1A, the beaches, the estuaries and the Intracoastal Waterway.
The County, along with the support of citizen volunteers, fought to keep surrounding development from widening the roadway to a four lane swath that would destroy the canopy of trees. The County also created a separate zoning district for the community known as The Hammock, to preserve the scenic beauty. In 2002, 72 miles of the coastal highway, from St. Augustine into Flagler County was designated a National Scenic Byway.
Flagler County paid $80,000 for the 10 billboards along the highway. “It was money well spent to preserve this beautiful piece of Florida,” Hanns said.