Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

In Hilliard, Teens Speak Up on County's Future; Their School Principal Told Them They Could Have a Voice in It

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

In Hilliard, Teens Speak Up on County's Future; Their School Principal Told Them They Could Have a Voice in It

Article excerpt

Byline: WENDI ZONGKER

Some teenagers from Hilliard Middle-Senior High School want to make sure their vision for the future of Nassau County is heard loud and clear. And they have only one request. They want a skate park somewhere between Callahan and Hilliard.

"We want one so we have a better place to skate," Trevor Cunningham, 16, said. "They don't let us skate at school or at apartments."

Some 20 teenagers gathered at Tuesday's Nassau County Visioning Plan input meeting in Hilliard after their principal, Dale Braddock told them about the meetings.

"I told them they have a voice and they need to get involved," he said.

Dennis Yecke of MGT of America, the firm hired to facilitate the creation of Nassau's vision plan, agreed.

"They're the ones who are going to inherit [Nassau] so they should have a say in what it looks like in 25 years."

The Hilliard meeting was the second of eight countywide meetings seeking input on what residents want Nassau to look like in 2032. More than 50 residents attended. More than 80 turned out for the first meeting Monday night in Yulee.

Nassau County embarked in August on a yearlong process of creating a vision plan for the future of the county.

Members of the Nassau County Visioning Plan Steering Committee, which is shepherding creation of the plan, manned discussion stations at both meetings.

Each table focused on one of 11 issues - economy and workforce, culture, education and school facilities plans, environment, governance, health care and social services, growth management, infrastructure, public safety, recreation and open space, and tourism.

Students who attended the meetings had other ideas.

Matt McFarlane, 16, said Nassau's schools need more athletic and recreational activities.

And Ben Astrium, 10, of Yulee said he wants Nassau residents to plant something to replace every tree they cut down.

GROWTH OVERWHELMING ROADS

At both meetings, several residents focused on growth and infrastructure. …

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