I am one member of a five person board. The opinions I express on this forum are mine only, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Escambia County Staff, Administrators, Employees, or anyone else associated with Escambia County Florida. I am interested in establishing this blog as a means of additional transparency to the public, outreach to the community, and information dissemination to all who choose to look. Feedback is welcome, but because public participation is equally encouraged, appropriate language and decorum is mandatory.
Wednesday, May 24, 2017
Good News on the OLF8 OLFX Land Swap
The Board of County Commissioners received a very important letter this week from Rear Admiral Bette Bolivar, Commander, Navy Region Southeast regarding the OLF 8 / OLF X land swap deal.
This project has been in the works for many, many years and is a very important economic development project for District 1 and Escambia County. It was the #1 rated economic development project from the restore act committee.
Over the last several years, however, the project's costs have continuously escalated and the requirements for the OLF X landing field in Santa Rosa County have continued to grow. Because this project's costs have continued to escalate, Escambia County had faced the very realistic possibility of having to walk away from this deal.
Last month, the County threw out a "Hail Mary" pass and contacted Matt Gaetz who committed to help facilitate the completion of this land swap deal. Additionally, Administrator Jack Brown wrote to the Navy on behalf of the commissioners in an attempt to keep the project on track. In his letter, he asked for some concessions from the Navy to keep the costs from escalating further.
This week we have received the Navy's response, from Admiral Bolivar. From the letter:
"After thorough review, evaluation, and consideration of the requirements for Navy helicopter outlying landing fields in the Naval Air Station (NAS) Whiting Field Training Complex, and with the concurrence of CNATRA's and higher headquarters, we have determined several items may be deferred from the initial stated requirements.."
Although reluctant to put a price on the concessions, Administrator Jack Brown stated that "an initial look at what has been offered points to potentially $1-2 Million dollars the County will save on improvements to OLF X in Santa Rosa County."
Because this is such a huge project for District 1 and all of Escambia County--and as the District 1 representative on the BCC-I applaud the efforts of the County Staff and the Navy to help reduce the costs associated with this project. Hopefully this concession will allow us to keep moving forward with this very worthwhile project!