Dr. Nick Place, dean of the University of Florida /IFAS Extension, announced his decision regarding the Escambia County 4-H and its future at today’s Escambia County Commission’s Committee of the Whole. (Read for background: 4-H and the Future and An Offer They Can’t Refuse)
Here are the options that Dr. Place accepted from the local advisory committee and made part of his announced decision:
Escambia County Equestrian Center
The 151-acre, county-owned site is currently used for horse shows, dog shows and 5k runs. With the exception of horses, the facility cannot currently accommodate livestock. Use of the site would require a use agreement with the county. Dr. Place recommended a partnership between 4-H and Escambia County.
Cottage Hill State Forest
With a total of 31.25 acres, this property could be deeded to the county by the state. Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam favors the use of this free property. It creates a 4-H footprint in the Cantonment area, according to Dr. Place.
Non-Land Option — Animal Raising
The task force found there is potential to lease property to address the needs associated with raising animals.
He also decided that the funds from the Navy Federal Credit Union purchase of the 240-acre Langley Bell property –$1.6 million of which had been reserved for a possible purchase of property for 4-H–be given to the 4-H foundation, exclusively for use in Escambia County.
Escambia County Commissioner Steven Barry was disappointed in Dr. Place’s decision. He stated that he didn’t believe it was fair and equitable, considering 4-H gave up 240 acres in the sale. Commissioner Wilson Robertson agreed and reminded the board that 4-H had been promised comparable property.