Port St. Joe Has Taken a Step Closer To a New Lease On Life
Port St. Joe took a step closer to a new lease on life recently when Port Authority Chairman Leonard Costin announced that an engineering/environmental study is currently taking place that ought to lead to dredging permits for the 14-mile shipping channel.
“With permits in hand, the Port Authority can then apply for dredging funding,” Costin said. “I anticipate that the funding will be available by June or July and the dredging complete by the end of 2014. If all goes well, we should have an operating port (and railroad) by the first quarter of 2015.”
The old port on the shore of historic St. Joseph Bay, once a formidable actor on the maritime stage, has been inactive for many years.
A short-line railroad (the AN Railway, owned by The St. Joe Company) that serviced the industries here was left intact but has been unused for more than a decade. Out in the bay, the shipping channel and turning basin that once saw steamships and freighters from all over the world is idle and needs maintenance — specifically, dredging.
Two new business opportunities being sought by today’s St. Joe Company, which still owns property around the port, have opened the door to a resurgence of the port’s viability, although it will require the old port to be renovated and reopened.