Hundreds Respond With Suggestions For Future Use of St. Augustine’s Waterworks Building

Sep 11, 2018

St. Augustine city leaders asked for the public’s help in figuring out what to do with the old Waterworks Building on San Marco Avenue and received plenty of opinions.

More than 350 surveys were received with preferences on how to redevelopment the San Marco Avenue landmark that was built as the city’s pumping station in 1898.

Here’s the breakdown:

Responding to the community venue question:

  • Community event venue             20.79%
  • Archaeological displays              19.94%
  • Music/theatrical performance   16.75%
  • Creative arts exhibit                     10.67%
  • Special events/weddings              5:34%
  •  Meeting hall                                   5.06%
  • Other suggestions                        21.63%

Responding to the commercial venue question:

  • Coffee shop                                    57.14%
  • Food truck/vendor                      29.87%
  • Souvenir shop                                9.52%
  • Convenience store                        3.46%

Exterior view of the St. Augustine Waterworks Building.
Credit Via City of St. Augustine

Nearly 64% percent of the survey participants are St. Augustine residents, according to the city.

The old Waterworks Building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  It was retired as a pumping station in 1927.

The site was then developed into Davenport Park and the building continued in use as the St. Augustine Little Theatre, the St. Augustine Arts Club, and finally as the St. Augustine Garden Club, according to the City of St. Augustine.

In 2005 the building was deemed unsafe due to deterioration of the mortar which threatens the stability of the brick walls.

The city has already spent $625,000 on renovations, a process that’s uncovered some interesting discoveries, according to St. Augustine spokesman Paul Williamson

“When they went in and removed some of the paneling off the walls they actually found some drawings, almost doodlings, that were done by actors during some of the plays. And I’m sure some of those little artifacts will be kept,” Williamson said in July.

Any future renovations will have to be approved by the city. It also is subject to historic preservation restrictions set by both the state and the city.

Bill Bortzfield can be reached at bbortzfield@wjct.org, 904-358-6349 or on Twitter at @BortzInJax.