Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

School Site Picked; Talks to Begin

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

School Site Picked; Talks to Begin

Article excerpt

GREEN COVE SPRINGS -- Relief for overcrowded classrooms at Doctors Inlet and Lake Asbury elementary schools could be a mere 28 months away.

The Clay County School Board initiated steps Wednesday to buy land for a new $7.6 million school on County Road 209 just south of County Road 220, described as "the perfect geographic location" by Assistant Superintendent Michael Elliott.

If plans go smoothly, Elliott told board members, the new school would open in August 2001.

The site is between Apalachicola Boulevard and Fireside Drive, adjacent to both the Villages of Fireside and Ridaught Landing subdivisions.

Several other prospective sites in the vicinity had been explored and ultimately dropped from consideration, Elliott said, as a result of traffic safety and environmental concerns.

The site is composed of four parcels totaling 29 acres, including a 13-acre vacant piece of land owned jointly by homeowners in the Villages of Fireside Association.

The other property owners "are willing sellers," Elliott said, but so far there has been no similar indication of willingness from the association. The board authorized him to meet with residents on April 14 to discuss the proposal.

"I would think the neighbors, if they had an opportunity for [school] recreational facilities there, would see this as a golden opportunity to be an enhancement for the neighborhood," said board member Carol Studdard.

"That's going to be our strongest selling point," Elliott said.

However, board members agreed that the public need for the land is so great that the association may be forced to give up the property in condemnation proceedings.

"I like the idea," said board member Charles "Mickey" Fields. "I think we need to fight real hard for that."

Other members agreed. They said they would not support the seizure of a person's homestead, but they would favor using legal force to acquire the homeowner association's vacant land if necessary. …

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