With the county being the recipient of lands from Dozier, the wheels have been turning in anticipation of making the abandoned state property a viable entity for the county. David Melvin and Rick Pettis of Melvin Engineering have been instrumental in the legwork evaluating the buildings the county will take over on the acreage given to the county by the State of Florida.
Melvin spearheaded the four with the first area viewed being the North Campus where the group was taken to the Boot Hill Cemetery. The plans are to erect a monument in Jackson County with the consensus of those working on this project that it should be somewhere on the Dozier property.
The group made a walking tour of buildings that had been used most recently by Washington County School Board. These buildings are structurally sound and can be made ready for occupancy with minimal structural work.
Melvin said they had begun studies to check for contaminants with the grant money awarded from last year’s legislative action. In response to a question if they were checking for asbestos, Melvin said they were looking for soil contaminants.
Talks have been ongoing with FSU College of Medicine, area Autism centers, and the larger employers in and around Jackson County to utilize the buildings for Autism diagnosed individuals who are moving into adulthood and have the need to transition into the workforce.
The 90-minute tour provided the Board of Commissioners a clearer take on what was available, what needed to be worked on, and what future projects could be looked into for location at Dozier. Plans are in the works to acquire 1000 additional acres if the State chooses to grant the acreage to the county.