A senior vice president of NationsBank Florida is working to upgrade American Beach while protecting it from high-density encroachment, according to the New York Times. Tony T. Brown bought a small lot on the island near Jacksonville last November, and now he hopes the small resort community, established in the 1930s by African-Americans barred from whites-only beaches, will accept the master plan he is developing.
The 78-acre enclave is the partial subject and name of a book by Russ Rymer, which contrasts American Beach with Eatonville and Celebration. The beach is still underdeveloped, by the standards of Amelia Island, where it is located. Property values are a tiny fraction of those on the white part of the island. As with Parramore and west Winter Park, residents are concerned that redevelopment will price the land out of reach of the locals, and that the area will lose its distinctive ethnic character as folks like Brown reap millions. Nassau County officials have been encouraging to Brown.
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