Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Old Radio Station Site Too Swampy; Salvation Army Still Looking

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Old Radio Station Site Too Swampy; Salvation Army Still Looking

Article excerpt

An old radio station on U.S. 17 has been dropped by the

Salvation Army as a potential site for a new community services

center on Fleming Island.

The 23-acre site was deemed unsuitable, officials said Friday,

because it is largely wetlands and construction would be

permitted only on a small portion of the property.

"We were completing a wetland study and found that too much of

the property turned out to be wetlands to be of much use to us,"

said Capt. Bert Tanner, the Salvation Army's Northeast Florida

area commander in Jacksonville.

Another factor that contributed to the dwindling interest in

the property was the discovery of contaminated soil on the site

earlier this year.

A cleanup effort was initiated a couple of months ago, but by

that time the Salvation Army already knew that about 75 percent

of the parcel was wet.

But just because the plans have been delayed doesn't mean they

won't be implemented ultimately. Tanner and Salvation Army

supporters say the site search will continue until the right one

is found.

"We're still looking for one in Clay County," Tanner said.

"Fleming Island is still not ruled out."

The Salvation Army's plans envision a church, a day-care

center, a gymnasium and ball fields, and services such as family

counseling, probation counseling, seniors programs and Scout

programs.

"We're looking for a full, usable 4 acres," Tanner said. "Our

plans are still the same."

A good location, he said, would be near a major east-west

corridor such as County Road 220, which extends from U.S. 17 on

Fleming Island to Florida 21 (Blanding Boulevard) in Middleburg.

When asked if he hoped a site could be found sometime in 1997,

Tanner said, "Gosh, I hope daily that somebody calls and tells

me, `I've got the right site.' "

Assisting in the search is Orange Park stockbroker Bill

Courtney Jr., chairman of the Salvation Army's Clay County

Advisory Board and a member of the sitesearch committee.

Courtney, who works for Merrill Lynch in Jacksonville, said the

committee recently had looked closely at a former church in the

Bellair area north of Blanding Boulevard and Kingsley Avenue. …

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