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New group has big plans for a safer beach

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Updated: 6/05/2013 10:40 am
JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. -- From melee comes motivation.

It was a packed house full of positivity at City Hall Monday night as the community brought up security concerns following the Memorial Day beach brawl.

"We can't make a change. We aren't going to see a difference overnight. It's going to take time," said Tonya Lee.

Now, Lee is feeling a little more optimistic -- far from the emotions she had a week ago after seeing video of the fight.

"A lot of hurt. I grew up going to the beach. This is where I learned to surf," she said.

She wanted to turn her concern into something productive and has created Respect Jax Beach. The new organization already has over 550 Facebook followers -- she plans to turn it into a nonprofit. Many of those followers attended the City Council meeting.

"Everything went well," Lee said of the meeting. "There was good conversation, good things that was brought up and plans that are in place."

Lee has some pretty big long-term goals including community events, real security solutions and a national draw. But partner Celeste Ayers says the biggest is also the easiest -- respect.

"Respect the beach means clean up your trash. Don't fight. Don't be loud. Just value and respect the resource that we are given by God and take care of it," Ayers said.

Respect Jax Beach is also teaming up now with 8103 Clothing - who has been selling shirts to raise money for security. Folks with the city say they don't plan to accept that money -- so Respect Jax Beach will use it to help local small businesses.

Council members tell Action News a lot of the suggestions coming out of last night's meeting deal with parking. We're told that is a priority for the council as well.

Also in the works, Respect Jax Beach is planning an appreciation luncheon on July 13 for police, firefighters and lifeguards.

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jaxfldon - 6/5/2013 11:45 AM
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Where were MAD Dads or the NAACP? Why weren't they there to help solve the problems CAUSED by the black community? Do they only show up when they feel it's the black community getting targeted by whites or what?
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