Suwannee Democrat

Local News

April 6, 2012

Our View - April 6

Live Oak — ‘Project Christmas’ is a must

Let’s start with the numbers. More than 350 jobs with an average salary of about $39,900. More jobs could be added later. About $20 million in federal, state and private funding for support of the project has been committed. More than $3.3 million in county money being utilized with a return on investment in 10 years of more than $879.8 million. The company that could locate here, known only so far as “Project Christmas”, could bring those jobs and the revenue to this county. But most importantly, jobs.

So what’s the holdup?

Land acquisition and company commitment.

As noted in the story on the front page today, an additional 155 acres is needed to add to the 100 acres already secured by the county to support this company. The problem, say some commissioners, is the price. The value of the additional property will likely exceed $500,000. The property owner is asking for $1 million. Only the second appraisal the county ordered will tell what will happen next.

Basically, if the county agrees to purchase the land, contingent upon a commitment from the company, we could very well have this in the bag.

Local political action committee Suwannee Progress has been working very hard trying to draw attention to this matter. Just recently they formed a petition drive seeking 1,000 signatures “asking the Suwannee County Commission to support this project completely and tell Project Christmas officials that we welcome them to our community.”

We urge you to take this petition into consideration. You can find petition forms at these local businesses: Town and Country Tire, Chamber of Commerce and the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park. You can also visit and electronically sign the petition. Or stop by the Suwannee County Fair this Saturday. Suwannee Progress officials will be working at the corn boil booth with petitions available. So far they have around 150 petitions.

Let’s move Suwannee County forward and do what we can to attract this company here. Tell your commissioner we need this. A super majority, or four votes, must be garnered from the commission to purchase this land.


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