Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Nassau Youth Have Their Say about Nassau's Future

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Nassau Youth Have Their Say about Nassau's Future

Article excerpt

Byline: WENDI ZONGKER

FERNANDINA BEACH - Though the official public input meetings for Nassau County's Vision 2032 Plan wrapped up Tuesday, the plan's Steering Committee met Thursday to hear what some Nassau youth want for the county's future.

Leadership Nassau, a program that teaches future leaders about Nassau's resources, gave 61 students from Nassau's four high schools disposable cameras in March and asked them to take pictures of what they like and dislike about Nassau.

Steering Committee member Bill Moore said he was encouraged to hear the students' vision for the county is similar to the vision of those who attended the previous meetings.

Each high school agreed about what they like and dislike in several areas, including nature, landscaping and open space and the lack of recycling and bike lanes.

"My amazement is how much convergence we see from the adults," Planning Director and vision plan Project Manager Walter Fufidio said. "It's good to see that everyone's moving in the same direction."

Students in Fernandina Beach and Yulee said they want more canopy roads and recreation trails and fewer condos and empty strip malls.

"There are a bunch of empty shops," Fernandina Beach High student Julia Belcher, 16, said. "They're building more and there's no one to fill the ones that are built."

Hilliard and Callahan students agree on the need for improved facilities and a new high school in Callahan.

Hilliard Middle-Senior High students Amber Pope and Kaylee Moore, both 17, said they want to see the school's basketball and tennis courts repaved. And they also want a net for the basketball goal.

"We're not necessarily concerned about getting new stuff as we are about fixing up what we already have," Pope said.

Nassau County residents have spent the last three months envisioning what they want Nassau to look like in 2032. Now hundreds of comments will form the basis of a plan for the county's future.

Consultant Dennis Yecke with MGT of America, the firm hired to create the plan, said the eight public input meetings drew more than 500 participants, including students. …

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