Royal returns with loftier goals as GCS Mayor


GREEN COVE SPRINGS – The city of Green Cove Springs has a new mayor.

Sort of.

Van Royal, the 67-year-old southwest Florida native who has made Green Cove Springs his home for the last 30 years, was sworn in last week for his second term as mayor.

Royal is a busy member of his community. He has held numerous leadership positions in and around Green Cove Springs. He is the owner of Exit Magnolia Point Realty, a board member of Ascension St. Vincent’s Hospital, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Penney Retirement Community and a board member of the Clay County Economic Development Council.

It’s safe to say that he cares a great deal about what takes place around him.

His first term as mayor was five years ago. It is a rotating position among the sitting board members.

“The renovation of Spring Park, particularly the pool,” said Royal of what he thought was the biggest accomplishment during that first term. “[It took] two years, and it was a $3.2 million project, with help from Clay County and the state of Florida.”

In the interim, he sat on the city council, working consistently towards helping Green Cove Springs to be its best.

This year makes Royal’s eighth as a member of the Green Cove City Council. He is always careful to acknowledge his fellow council members for any advances made, as everything must happen by consensus.

A significant focus for the next year (his current term as mayor), is to facilitate a return from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We know that it will be a challenging route and one that we will find different opinions on,” said Royal. “But I do have great trust in our city government leaders and county government leaders that we will recover, but I hope we don’t lose too many small businesses in the process. It’s not our only focus, but cautiously guiding reentry, and then becoming a cheerleader for decisions that we made as far as the businesses.”

Royal is a forward thinker. He has some goals for this term. He looks forward to bringing businesses back safely, completion of the Augusta Savage Center and opening up Walnut street to more small businesses in the downtown area.

More than anything, though, Royal is grateful for the opportunity.

“I am thankful to be a part of a community of employees, staff, and citizens that look after each other,” said Royal. “I see a community that never forgot about each other, and I’m thankful for that.”


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