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Tourism may help fund road repairs in St. Augustine

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Updated: 1/15 8:44 pm
ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- With uneven paving, pot holes, and more Avenida Menedez Street can be a bumpy ride. The city of St. Augustine is working on repaving it, but just this week approved a contract with the St. Johns County Tourism & Development committee to spend $160,000 to operate the Visitors Information Center with street hosts in period costumes and an additional $75,000 for an educational movie.

St. Augustine Vice Mayor Nancy Sikes-Kline says the move was to help boost tourism.

"Those kinds of investments are to promote heritage tourism within the city which is the lifeblood of the city from the business side of the city. But the roads and the water quality, those are quality of life issues for our residents," said Sikes-Kline.

Tourists are also affected by infrastructure issues with roadways.

"It looks like they're fixing them and I hope that they continue to fix them because the other side for Old City looks fabulous. This does not," says tourist Rita Milbourne.

Sikes Kline says it may seem like the city is spending a lot of money on entertainment, but she says the entertainment related items are from the reserves and the general fund.

"People need to understand that they are different pots. They come from different things and they have specific purposes for spending," said Sikes-Kline.

City leaders have to attack multiple things at the same time in order to keep the St. Augustine running.

"We have to balance progress on paving out streets and resurfacing and milling those streets with also economic development because we are a tourism based city," said Sikes-Kline.

The vice mayor says this problem won't be solved over night, but they hope to raise enough money from tourism to help fix local projects faster.

Current infrastructure projects include repaving roads and replacing old water pipes.
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