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- 2014 - January - 6th -

By Max Marbut, Staff Writer

Have you ever wondered what life was like in Jacksonville half a century ago? It was a different era of history, culture and politics but there are often parallels between the kind of stories that made headlines then and today. As interesting as the differences may be, so are the similarities. These are some of the top stories from this week in 1964. The items were compiled from the Jacksonville Public Library's periodical archives by Staff Writer Max Marbut.

• The City Commission issued a new call for bids to complete the Dallas L. Thomas Park Downtown along the Southside waterfront.

Original bids received in December were rejected by the commission when the apparent low base bid was $200,000 more than the city had appropriated for the project. At the direction of the commission, the Register and Cummings engineering firm rewrote the specifications for the new bid call, with plans for reducing the cost.

The changes included use of sprayed-on glaze coating for the 100-foot water fountain instead of ceramic tile. Also on the list were the elimination of one floating pier and deleting two finger docks on the remaining floating pier.

Other reductions in the scope of the project included shortening the covered walkway in the docking area and eliminating the proposed boat refueling station as a city expense.

• A new plan for financing a proposed $28 million airport would require a special freeholder referendum on a $14 million general obligation bond issue.

City Airports Commissioner Louis Ritter said a plan to build an airport to replace Imeson Airport without an ad valorem tax bond issue might have to be abandoned.

City attorneys and financial consultants were in New York City working out financing details for the proposed project.

The latest plan called for issuance of $14 million in ad valorem tax bonds, $7 million in airport revenue certificates and for the city to apply for $7.5 million in federal grants.

Ritter said several factors were involved in the change of plans. He said all had to do with a tight time schedule in presenting a workable financing plan as well as construction details to the Federal Aviation Agency in time for approval before the June 30 deadline.

• Attorney Clarence G. King Jr. was elected chairman of the Duval County Hospital Authority, a seven-member body created by the state Legislature in 1963. It was charged with expanding and improving tax-supported medical services in the county.

The authority was empowered to call for referendums on bond issues to provide funds for development of hospital facilities

King also served as chairman of former Duval County Hospital Board, which was replaced by the authority. Other new officers were Dr. Dekle Taylor, vice chairman and Buford Bowen, secretary-treasurer.

There had been no substantial increase in the number of beds at Duval Medical Center since the 1920s, King said.

Other members of the authority, appointed in December by Gov. Farris Bryant, were Paul Broome, Charles Cobb, Dr. Karl Hanson and County Commissioner Julian Warren.

At its first meeting, the authority voted to retain Arthur Milam as attorney at a fee of $100 per month. Milam helped write the legislation that created the authority.

• Dean Boggs, president of the Battle of Olustee Centennial Observance Inc., said the 100th anniversary of the largest Civil War encounter between Confederate and Union troops in Florida would be staged Feb. 22 in Jacksonville.

Boggs said the local observance committee included representatives of chapters of the Daughters of the Confederacy and Sons of Confederate Veterans in Florida and Georgia.

"Uniforms, muskets and artillery of the Civil War era are needed as well as volunteer soldiers and financial aid," he said. "The Jacksonville City Commission, City Council and recreation department are cooperating fully."

• A turbo-prop aircraft, the first of its kind assigned in North Florida, arrived at Jacksonville Naval Air Station.

The P3A Orion was one of nine that would be assigned in 1964 to Patrol Squadron 45 at NAS, which was assigned to antisubmarine warfare.

According to a news release from the Navy, the P3 Orion, a modified version of the Lockheed Electra, was "without a doubt, the best in performance, comfort and design."

• Winn-Dixie Stores Inc. President A.D. Davis received awards from the Duval County Pop Warner Football Conference and the city Recreation Department for his "service and exceptional leadership in scholarship and sportsmanship" in the conference.

The awards were presented by Juvenile Court Judge Lamar Winegeart, a member of the Pop Warner board of directors.

• A two-week holiday came to a close for more than 114,000 Duval County students.

Of the students returning to classes, 66,585 were enrolled in elementary schools, 47,004 were attending secondary schools and more than 900 were enrolled in special education.

More than 1,000 of the pupils would return to classes in a new school building, Joseph W. Stillwell Junior High School at 7840 Burma Road. It was the county's first new complete junior high school in 46 years and was finished just before Christmas.

Some 1,034 students from Thomas Jefferson Elementary Junior High School in Marietta transferred to the new school, ending double sessions in their previous school.

• The Jacksonville Beach City Council authorized acquisition of all the private property remaining in a six-block area designated for redevelopment.

The decision would affect more than 30 businesses operating in buildings on the 11 parcels of property. Mayor William Wilson reaffirmed that assurance that merchants involved would be given ample time to relocate.

Council member Justin Montgomery suggested that the city authorize acquisition of only the land needed in the immediate next step of the redevelopment plan. Wilson said such a plan already had been rejected at an "informal meeting" of council members and the city attorney.

Wilson said it was decided to take immediately all of the land needed, either by negotiation or condemnation, to forestall the possibility of an increase later in the value of the property.

• According to the city Building Department's annual report, value of new or additional construction in Jacksonville in 1963 was $24,908,352, an increase of $1,113,229 compared to 1962. There were 5,559 building permits issued in 1963, compared to 5,447 in 1962.

Residential construction in 1963 was valued at $2,130,800, providing 364 buildings for 441 families. Single-family dwellings accounted for 330 buildings and $1.75 million of the valuation.

Permits were issued for 14 two-family dwellings and 20 multifamily dwellings.

New nonresidential construction accounted for $9.5 million of the total and 844 buildings.

• The Adult Distributive Education section of the Duval County Public Schools system was preparing to begin four new courses scheduled to begin Jan. 13.

The new courses were income tax laws for the small businessman, marketing, economics and managing for profit.

The courses would be offered at the Central Adult School at Church and Liberty streets.

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