JACKSONVILLE Fla.-- What could have been a final farewell for the ferry, it's swan song across the river, became its maiden voyage under new management.
A night of sadness turned to celebration as JaxPort handed the St. Johns River Ferry key to the new Ferry Commission.
"Today it has proved positive that getting a lot of people together with good intentions to do something good for the community can work," said Ferry Task Force Chair, Elaine Brown.
City Council Vice President, Bill Gulliford accepted the key with Councilman and Ferry Commission Chair John Crescimbeni. Gulliford told Action News that the friends of the ferry kept the important piece of Mayport history afloat, and that's exactly what it will take to propel it forward in the future.
"People are most successful with things they're genuinely interested in that's what this is all about," said Gulliford.
With $200,000 from JaxPort, $100,000 from the Mayor's budget and another $100,000 from City Council, the Ferry Commission is full speed ahead to run for only another year.
In that time they'll have to come up with a more long term solution to funding the ferry.
"The Ferry Commission will be working on financing and capital improvements and grass roots on helping with a fabulous advertising company we're working with," said Brown.
"I think what we have is a whole different approach now," added Gulliford. "When you get seven involved citizens in it that are genuinely interested to run it, it's not an afterthought. The commission is the way to operate the thing and if we are going to succeed it will be because of that."
The task force succeeded in saving the ferry for another year, and it saved 20 jobs. Although the Ferry Commission will oversee the operation of the Ferry, Hornblower Marine services will remain the operators.