Spanish Cove Beginnings

Presented at Spanish Cove's 40th Anniversary Celebration
by Sally McKinney, Past Board Chair
In the past, Spanish sailors kept missing the bay that broke off from the Gulf
of Mexico, hence the name, Perdido, which in Spanish translates to Lost
Bay. Six hundred years later, Perdido Bay was found not by sailors, but by
landlubbers who sought a quiet, beautiful place to retire and it was named
Spanish Cove.
Now, 40 years later retirees and families are still enjoying the benefits of this
home away from home, or for many of us, our new, permanent home.
Spanish Cove was planned by Tidewater Real Estate to include 2300 lots.
It was developed by Spanish Cove Properties Corp. (SCPC) and Cove
Club of Perdido Bay until the late 80s when it was taken over by Citibank.
In 1989 the common properties were turned over to the Property Owners
Association of Spanish Cove, but Lillian Land Company retained the unsold
properties and continued to sell them into the 1990s as Spanish Cove
Many of the new owners were RVers who discovered the area by reading
an article in Trailer Life, an RV periodical. It boasted of low property taxes,
quiet homes in a wooded area and friendly fellowship up and down the
block. According to Trailer Life, and I quote, "Everyone--no exaggeration-
we talked to in the RV, manufactured home and conventional house
neighborhoods sounded like they were on the developers' sales force."
In November 1989 Citicorp published a list of responsibilities for Spanish
Cove. Spanish Cove Management Corporation managed the company
with Montie Clark a sole share holder. Spanish Cove Properties owned
the unsold properties and recreational facilities and would develop any
additional lots.
The Cove Club of Perdido Bay was responsible for collecting assessments,
maintaining common properties and recreation facilities and enforced the
rules, regulations and Covenants. It also accepted advice from the Members
and Transitional Council.
Even before POASC held the first elections for a Board of Directors
in February 1992, property owners served on volunteer boards and
committees. A Steering Committee began in 1984, then an Advisory Council
in 1985, a transitional council in 1986 and finally the POASC board. There
is a list of 150 members who have served on one or more of these groups.
We thank them for their foresight in helping to make Spanish Cove a special
place to live.
Not that it has all been stars and roses. The Spanish Cove Independent
Property Owners Association challenged the transfer to POASC and there
were a few smaller lawsuits by individuals that were either won by POASC
or settled in some fashion.
Shortly after POASC was formed, the Tidewater Real Estate offered to
sell the Spanish Cove Water Service to POASC. After much deliberation,
the Board of Directors decided they did not want to take on the future
development of the service to the undeveloped properties. Property owners
had been asked to help in the project and many of us sent checks for $350
to provide cash for the down payment, as I recall. Checks were returned
when the negotiations ended.
Hurricanes have always been a threat, but we have survived--even after
Hurricane Ivan 10 years ago. Many of us suffered extensive damage to our
homes, but we helped each other out and welcomed those from across the
nation who arrived to help, the Salvation Army, the Red Cross, Fort Apache
Hot Shots and Grand Isle, Louisiana. Then the following year, many of us
joined with other members of the Lillian community, collected clothing, food
and other essentials and went to Grand Isle to help after Hurricane Katrina.
Throughout the years, the population has been kept informed by publication
of The Update. Its face has changed over the years, editors have come and
gone, but The Update is still the main source for what's new and exciting in
Spanish Cove. An independent publication, the Spanish Cove Informer was
published by a property owner for several years as an alternative viewpoint
from the board.
Now, of course, with the Internet, you can also be kept informed of Spanish
Cove activities on the website, FaceBook, and the Town Crier. And don't
forget my emails to keep up with the latest in dog and cat activities, Lillian
community information, and sadly, deaths.
The Spanish Cove telephone directory has been a part of the community at
least since 1992, when I moved here. I used to take it to social events and
make notes next to the names of those I met, so I could remember them.
So here we are 40 years and 1500 property owners after the first official
documents, with a new Junior Olympic-sized pool built in 2002, a beautiful
new pier built in 2012 and this wonderful refurbished facility where many of
us have met new friends who have become our extended family.
It has been my pleasure to serve twice on the board of directors. I thank you
for that opportunity. With your help and the excellent direction of the Board
of Directors, Spanish Cove will continue to be the best place in the world to
live. Remember, it's close to Florida, but nothing in Florida come close!