Beaches Coalition back to in-person, emphasizes grassroots


The Ponte Vedra Beaches Coalition held its first in-person meeting since the COVID-19 pandemic took mass affect in the United States in March 2020.

More than a year later, there was a certain excitement and smiling faces shared by the majority of those in attendance for the June 30 meeting in Ponte Vedra Public Library’s conference room.

Janet Patten, chairwoman of government affairs with the St. Johns Civic Roundtable welcomed everyone back as the guest speaker.

The roundtable is a network of citizens, as well as neighborhood, community and homeowners’ associations who join forces with the betterment of the county in mind.

Patten stressed to the crowd the importance in establishing grassroots initiatives that can help both spread a message and create an avenue to have ideas shared.

“I’m a big advocate for grassroots,” Patten said. “It does work.”

According to Patten, one of the goals of the Roundtable is to stay updated on the issues that are being talked about at the county and state levels, so that the residents of those areas can remain informed and therefore be able to make recommendations to elected officials.

The Roundtable meets monthly and is planning to meet again in-person possibly in September. Until

Links to the emails of elected state officials can be found at

Patten prompted all residents to get involved about the issues they are passionate about within the community and not to be afraid to reach out to their officials in office, because that remains the best way for their worries and concerns to be heard.

“Issues can take a while to percolate, but they eventually get there,” Patten said.

According to Patten, no matter what the issue is, the larger the group fighting for it, the higher chance it has of being heard and looked in to.

Patten pointed out state rep. Cyndi Stevenson as an elected official who has done a great job of late advocating for the local area, including helping secure $3.5 million to help with Ponte Vedra beach renourishment and another $1.6 million specified for improvements to Mickler’s Landing and Marsh Landing.

“The county right now has no vision, we’re just growing,” Patten said. “We’re trying to get the county to think more long term.”

Something that has her hopeful that a potential shift in approach could be starting to take place is the fact that the county has talked about holding a growth management workshop possibly sometime in October.

Coalition president Lisa Johnson Cook added that she had heard the county was even expressing an interest to do a couple of workshops per year.

“These workshops are just another way for us to speak out,” Patten said.